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Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Date:8/15/2011

nes that are being expressed. Glazer showed that the silencing of BRCA1 is accompanied by a change in the histones, called methylation, which is frequently seen when gene expression is reduced.

"We then found that one particular enzyme, called lysine demethylase [LSD1] is manipulating the methylations," says Glazer. Finding a way to block that enzyme could lead to reactivating BRCA1, he says, noting that this might be done by finding a small molecule that inhibits that enzyme's activity. Such a drug might reactivate other tumor suppressors as well, he says.

Glazer thinks that cell stress in general caused by hormones or environmental toxins may lead to silencing BRCA1, and he plans to investigate that hypothesis.

(Y. Lu, A. Chu, M.S. Turker, and P.M. Glazer, 2011. Hypoxia-induced epigenetic regulation and silencing of the BRCA1 promotor. Mol. Cell. Biol. 31:3339-3350.)


How Excess Alcohol Depresses Immune Function

Alcoholism suppresses the immune system, resulting in a high risk of serious, and even life-threatening infections. A new study shows that this effect stems largely from alcohol's toxicity to immune system cells called dendritic cells. These cells play a critical role in immune function, responding to danger signals by searching for unfamiliar antigens within the body that would be coming from invading microbes, and presenting such antigens to T cells, thus activating them to seek and destroy cells containing these antigens. The research is published in the July 2011 issue of the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Earlier studies in mice had shown that excessive drinking of alcohol impaired T cell function, and subsequently that this impairment could be reversed by exposure to dendritic cells (so named for their shape) from non-alcoholic mice, and that poor function in CD4 and CD8 T cells could be improved through exposure to cytokines produced by non-alcoholic dendriti
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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