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Viral DNA sequence a possible trigger for breast cancer

A small sequence of DNA in the envelope (Env) protein of a mouse breast tumor virus (called MMTV) can transform breast cells into cancer cells, according to a study by Katz et al. in the February 7 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine. The ability of this motif to transform cells single-handedly suggests that viral infection may be an important and previously unrecognized trigger for bre...

Scientists ID molecular 'switch' in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers have identified a molecular mechanism in the liver that explains, for the first time, how consuming foods rich in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids causes elevated blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and increases one's risk of heart disease and certain cancers. .. . Until now, scientists lacked a detailed exp...

Source of molecular triggers in cutaneous T cell lymphoma identified

In a study published in the journal Blood, Yale scientists identify the molecular triggers that stimulate Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) cells to clonally expand into large populations of malignant lymphocytes. .. CTCL is the most common adult malignancy of T lymphocytes, the white blood cells of the immune system. Finding CTCL triggering factors has been a major goal of Richard L. Edelson, M.D...

Signaling protein builds bigger, better bones in mice

In a new study, researchers present a “cautionary tale?about what may go wrong when using the fledgling science of proteomics to devise a diagnostic test for cancer. .. .. After conducting repeated checks of the data that supported the test’s effectiveness, the researchers say thei...

Inflammatory molecules released by pollen trigger allergies

How do pollen particles provoke allergic reactions? A new study in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine puts some of the blame on bioactive molecules that are released from pollen. These molecules bind to immune cells and cause them to launch a typical allergy-promoting immune response. Pollen from plants exposed to air pollutants produce more of these allergy-provoking c...

Key Trigger Of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Found

Researchers have discovered an important chemical in the brain's neuronal machinery that triggers some of the withdrawal symptoms of opioid drugs like morphine and heroin. .. . .To zero in on the machinery underlying withdrawal symptoms, researchers led by...

Opposing fat metabolism pathways triggered by a single gene

Regulating metabolism of fat is an important challenge for any animal, from nematodes to humans. Central players in the regulatory network are the nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs), which are transcription factors that turn on or off a set of target genes when bound by specific lipid molecules. In the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology, Keith Yamamoto and colleagues show that the nuclear hor...

The biggest family tree ever

Ever wondered where your family's ancestors roamed 60,000 years ago? .Now you can find out by participating in the world's most ambitious project tracing the genetic and migratory history of the human race. . Members of the general public from all over the world can supply their DNA to the Genographic Project, and scientists at The University of Arizona in Tucson will do the genetic analysis. The...

UNC plant researchers discover proteins interact to form hair-trigger protection against invaders

Experimenting with Arabidopsis, a fast-growing cousin of the humble mustard plant, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got a big surprise while investigating how plants respond to attacks from disease organisms such as bacteria and viruses. . "Contrary to what we thought we'd find, our experiments showed that at least three different proteins work in concert with one ano...

A whole lot of shaking goin' on triggers early hatching in red-eyed tree frogs

Embryos distinguish vibrational differences, hatching early to snake attacks but not to rain .. . With that bite, the embryos start to wiggle frantically. As the snake moves to take another morsel, the embryos rupture their egg capsules, drop into the water, and, as tadpoles, sw...

A virus-like hitchhiker may trigger bacterial meningitis

Reporting in the June 20 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, a group of scientists in Paris, France led by Colin Tinsley may have discovered how a normally harmless bacterium can sometimes trigger outbreaks of life-threatening meningitis. . The human body harbors many harmless bacterial residents, known as commensals. One such bacterium, called Neisseria meningitidis, makes its home in...

Double trouble: Cells with duplicate genomes can trigger tumors

Abnormal cell division that yields cells with an extra set of chromosomes can initiate the development of tumors in mice, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown, validating a controversial theory about cancer causation put forth by a scientific visionary nearly 100 years ago. . The so-called "double-value" cells are produced by random errors in cell division that occur with unknow...

Bigger brain size matters for intellectual ability

Brain size matters for intellectual ability and bigger is better, McMaster University researchers have found. . .. .. It found bigger is better, but there are diffe...

Nicotine triggers the same brain reward circuitry as opiates

In experiments with mice, researchers have found that nicotine triggers the same neural pathways that give opiates such as heroin their addictively rewarding properties--including associating an environment with the drug's reward. However, unlike opiates, nicotine does not directly activate the brain's opiate receptors, but activates the natural opioid reward pathway in the brain. . The researche...

Digging in the dirt for life's biochemical foundations

It seems a mighty feat for a microscopic fungus built from threadlike filaments. But collectively, these spindly mushroom relatives help move several billion tons of nutrients out of the soil and into plants each year. Now, new Michigan State University-supported research on the movement of nitrogen brings into sharper focus this underground process at the root of nearly all of Earth's food chain...

Study uncovers dirty little secret: Soil emissions are much-bigger-than-expected component of air pollution

Nitrogen oxides produced by huge fires and fossil fuel combustion are a major component of air pollution. They are the primary ingredients in ground-level ozone, a pollutant harmful to human health and vegetation. . .. Nitrogen oxide emissions total more than 40 million metric tons worldwide each year, with 64 percent comin...

Molecular trigger for Huntington's disease found

Researchers have discovered a key regulatory molecule whose overactivation by the abnormal protein produced in Huntington's disease (HD) causes the central pathologies of the disease. The abnormal HD protein activates the regulatory protein called p53, which in turn switches on a host of other genes. This abnormal gene activation damages the cells' power plants, called the mitochondria, and kills...

U-M scientists say fused genes trigger the development of prostate cancer

Faster computation of haplotypes provides insight into genetic basis of human diseaseHigh-throughput sequencing of an individual's DNA yields a map of genetic variation which can give clues to the genetic underpinning of human disease. The current technologies collect genotypes, or information from the individual's two chromosomes. Yet many scientists believe that drilling down to the variation...

Bacteria in Household Dust May Trigger Asthma Symptoms

New research shows that bacteria lurking in household dust produce chemicals that may trigger asthma and asthma-related symptoms such as wheezing. These bacterial chemicals, called endotoxins, particularly those found on bedroom floors, were linked with increased respiratory problems in adults. This study, supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the...

Plant wounds trigger bacteria

How does a wound in certain plants like roses and grapevines develop into a tumor? The answer appears to lie in a common soil bacterium that is able to "smell" the wound and speed up the infection process. . enters the wound where it copies the genes required for infection, which can slip into the plant's cells and their nuclear DNA, causing a cancer-like disease called crown gall. The cells of...

Sudden change in social status triggers genetic response in male fish, study finds

Throughout the animal kingdom, rival males routinely challenge one another for the right to reproduce. From the head-on collisions between bighorn rams to the ritualized wrestling matches of male rattlesnakes, combat is often the key to reproductive success. . But now scientists studying a species of African cichlid fish have discovered that low-ranking male cichlids can quickly become leading m...

Ocean 'dead zones' trigger sex changes in fish, posing extinction threat

Oxygen depletion in the world’s oceans, primarily caused by agricultural run-off and pollution, could spark the development of far more male fish than female, thereby threatening some species with extinction, according to a study published today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, . The finding, by Rudolf Wu, Ph.D., and colleagues at the City University of Hong Kong, raises...

'Nano-keys' bind cell receptors and trigger allergic reactions

The tumblers of life continue to click as Cornell University researchers have fabricated a set of "nano-keys" on the molecular scale to interact with receptors on cell membranes and trigger larger-scale responses within cells -- such as the release of histamines in an allergic response. . .. Barbara Baird, Cornell professor of chemistry and chemical biology...

Spousal illness can trigger partner death

In the largest study ever to quantify caregiver burden and the widower effect, researchers found that for people aged 65 and older, hospitalization of a spouse can harm the wellbeing of his or her partner and significantly contribute to that partner's death. This risk also varies with the ill spouse's diagnosis. The study appears in the Feb. 16 New England Journal of Medicine. "Our study shows th...

Study finds evolution doesn't always favor bigger animals

Biologists have long believed that bigger is better when it comes to body size, since many lineages of animals, from horses to dinosaurs, have evolved into larger species over time. . .. The scientists found that populations of tiny crustaceans retrieved from deep-sea sediments over the past 40 million years grew bigger and evolved into lar...

Researchers now able to look deep into heart to view triggers of a heart's beat

Scientists have long known that the social insects in the order Hymenoptera--which includes ants, bees, and wasps--have an unusual mechanism for sex determination: Unfertilized eggs develop into males, while fertilized eggs become females. But the development of an unfertilized egg into an adult (called parthenogenesis) remains a mysterious process. . One mystery has been the origin of the centr...

How to grow a bigger brain

Hatchery-reared steelhead trout show increased growth of some parts of the brain when small stones are scattered on the bottom of their tank, according to a new study by researchers at UC Davis. The brains of those young fish were closer to those of salmon reared in the wild, and the fish also showed behavior closer to wild than to hatchery-reared fish. . "There's an obvious difference between th...

Drug triggers body's mechanism to reverse aging effect on memory process

A drug made to enhance memory appears to trigger a natural mechanism in the brain that fully reverses age-related memory loss, even after the drug itself has left the body, according to researchers at UC Irvine. . Professors Christine Gall and Gary Lynch, along with Associate Researcher Julie Lauterborn, were among a group of scientists who conducted studies on rats with a class of drugs known a...

Gene first linked to rare disease may trigger skin cancer, other tumors

A gene first identified in connection with a rare disease in which patients develop multiple, benign skin tumors may be a more general player in cancers found throughout the body, according to a report in the May 19, 2006 Cell. . .. A team led by Reinhard Fässler of the Max Planck Institut...

Expanding waistlines triggered by your genes

A gene that degrades the body's collagen infrastructure has been shown to make fat cells fatter and expand girth. . .. The collaborative research team, headed by researchers Tae-Hwa Chun, Stephen Weiss, and Alan Saltiel at U-M's Life Sciences Institute (LSI), discovered...

Autoimmune disease triggered if T cells miss a single protein early on

Scientists have discovered that autoimmunity can be triggered in the thymus, where the immune system's T cells develop, if T cells fail to recognize just one of the body's thousands of proteins as "self." The research confirms an emerging view that autoimmunity can start in this cradle of the immune system, and not only at the sites where autoimmune diseases emerge, such as the pancreas in the c...

The biggest bug in gut discomfort

In spite of our long and painful relationship with Campylobacter jejuni, we are just starting to answer basic questions about the bug that is the leading cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the United States, and one of the most common causes of diarrhea worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that "campylobacterioisis" strikes 2.4 million Americans a year. . While most sufferer...

Electric jolt triggers release of biomolecules, nanoparticles

Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a way to use a brief burst of electricity to release biomolecules and nanoparticles from a tiny gold launch pad. The technique could someday be used to dispense small amounts of medicine on command from a chip implanted in the body. The method also may be useful in chemical reactions that require the controlled release of extremely small quantities of a mat...

A key antibody, IgG, links cells' capture and disposal of germs

Scientists have found a new task managed by the antibody that's the workhorse of the human immune system: Inside cells, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) helps bring together the phagosomes that corral invading pathogens and the potent lysosomes that eventually kill off the germs. . .. "The IgG class of antibodies is a critical part of the human immune system, g...

'Failed' experiment yields a biocontrol agent that doesn't trigger antibiotic resistance

MADISON - A failed experiment turned out to be anything but for bacteriologist Marcin Filutowicz. . .. The discovery also led to the startup of a promising new biotechnology firm that has already brought Wisconsin a dozen new, high-paying, highly skilled jobs. Filutowicz is a professor of bacteriology in the University of Wisconsin-Madis...

Why do cold animals make bigger babies?

Reproduction involves a critical decision: Should an organism invest energy in a few large offspring or many small ones? In a new study from The American Naturalist, Michael Angilletta (Indiana State University), Chris Oufiero (University of California, Riverside), and Adam Leaché (University of California, Berkeley) used a new statistical approach that can test multiple theories at the same time...

Brain tissue reveals possible genetic trigger for schizophrenia

A study led by scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may have identified a molecular mechanism involved in the development of schizophrenia. . .. "In many genetic diseases, such as Huntington's disease or cystic fibrosis, the basis is a gene mutation that leads to a malformed protein....

Chemical switch triggers critical cell activities

The freeze-frame image of a molecular relay race, in which one enzyme passes off a protein like a baton to another enzyme, has solved a key mystery to how cells control some vital functions, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A report on this work appears in the January 14 advanced online publication issue of Nature. . The St. Jude discovery explains how a simpl...

New research shows that flu is a trigger of heart attacks

Doctors need to take concerted action to ensure that people who are at risk of heart disease receive the influenza vaccine every autumn, according to the authors of a new report published today (Wednesday 18 April) in the European Heart Journal. Their research shows that influenza epidemics are associated with a rise in deaths from heart disease and that flu can actually trigger the heart attacks...

Climate change could trigger 'boom and bust' population cycles leading to extinction

Climate change could trigger "boom and bust" population cycles that make animal species more vulnerable to extinction. , according to Christopher C. Wilmers, an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. . Favorable environmental conditions that produce abundant supplies of food and stimulate population booms appear to set the stage for population cr...
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