Molecular biologists have observed changes in common signaling cascades throughout the course of REM sleep episodes (in rodents) with disruption to these signaling cascades leading to memory deficits. It's good to see a paper focusing on mechanism now that we have a plethora of papers showing that depriving yourself of REM sleep can have detrimental effects on all types of memory (episodic, emotional, declarative, procedural) ... Read more »
Luo, J., Phan, T., Yang, Y., Garelick, M., & Storm, D. (2013) Increases in cAMP, MAPK Activity, and CREB Phosphorylation during REM Sleep: Implications for REM Sleep and Memory Consolidation. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(15), 6460-6468. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5018-12.2013
Aphids are frequently controlled by chemical compounds so that it could be not so unusual that you may interact with insecticides, for instance, after a general treatment of your home for spiders, insects or termites. A new study published by Elizabeth Milne et al. in the journal Cancer Causes & Control reveals that women exposed within a year of [...]... Read more »
Greenop KR, Peters S, Bailey HD, Fritschi L, Attia J, Scott RJ, Glass DC, de Klerk NH, Alvaro F, Armstrong BK.... (2013) Exposure to pesticides and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer causes . PMID: 23558445
I've talked about the mighty tick previously on this blog and some speculation on how a tick harbouring the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (or a close relation) bites and transmits said bacteria to humans which can lead to Lyme disease and whether this might be implicated in some cases of autism. Tickety boo @ Wikipedia The suggestion from that post was that whilst the data was speculative and relatively sparse at that time on whether Lyme disease is common in cases of autism........ Read more »
Mary Ajamian, Barry E. Kosofsky, Gary P. Wormser, Anjali M. Rajadhyaksha, & Armin Alaedini. (2013) Serologic Markers of Lyme Disease in Children With Autism. JAMA, 309(17), 1771-1773. info:/
Almost all of us visiting PDB would have looked at the image shown below that attract us like moths attracted to a light. I am talking about the aesthetically pleasing protein images created by David Goodsell. In case you didn’t know, he is the author of Molecule of the Month series. Since the images look anything like the ones we usually keep looking at, one is attracted to the level of abstraction the image projects due to which, the reader understands the big picture. And, of course, th........ Read more »
Sanner MF. (1999) Python: a programming language for software integration and development. Journal of molecular graphics , 17(1), 57-61. PMID: 10660911
Sanner MF, Olson AJ, & Spehner JC. (1996) Reduced surface: an efficient way to compute molecular surfaces. Biopolymers, 38(3), 305-20. PMID: 8906967
This week is vervet week. I have declared it. Coming from me, this means a lot, since I've never been particularly interested in vervet monkeys. But, two articles have been released in science recently: both on vervets, both so intriguing that I have been compulsively rereading them.
The first of these comes from Andy Whiten of primate culture fame. He has done impressive work in the past, and this latest vervet paper is an extension of that, though perhaps not the intuitive extension. The au........ Read more »
van de Waal, E., Borgeaud, C., & Whiten, A. (2013) Potent Social Learning and Conformity Shape a Wild Primate's Foraging Decisions. Science, 340(6131), 483-485. DOI: 10.1126/science.1232769
The National Institute for Material Science Global Research Center for Environment and Energy based on Nanomaterials Science (Japan) together with the researchers from the Tokyo Metropolitan University have successfully measured the volumetric expansion of single particles of silicon, which is a negative electrode material for lithium ion batteries, accompanying the charging reaction. Based on these results, scientists demonstrated the importance of the electrode design and are looking into the ........ Read more »
MOON, J., MUNAKATA, H., KAJIHARA, K., & KANAMURA, K. (2013) Hydrothermal Synthesis of Manganese Dioxide Nanoparticles as Cathode Material for Rechargeable Batteries. Electrochemistry, 81(1), 2-6. DOI: 10.5796/electrochemistry.81.2
The cancer field consistently proves to be one of the most critical areas for investigations into mechanisms governing tight epigenetic regulation, as nearly all types of cancers demonstrate misregulated epigenetic patterns. Most studies focus on the final epigenomic landscape in terms of histone and DNA modifications and methylomes; relatively few, however, have placed as much ...... Read more »
Ulanovskaya OA, Zuhl AM, & Cravatt BF. (2013) NNMT promotes epigenetic remodeling in cancer by creating a metabolic methylation sink. Nature chemical biology, 9(5), 300-6. PMID: 23455543
We can knit sweaters for oiled penguins, but it's harder to protect whales and dolphins from the harm of having us as neighbors. Loud underwater sounds from activities like sonar and drilling may damage these animals' hearing and even lead to mass strandings. Though we can't chase cetaceans around with homemade earmuffs, we might be able to teach them to tune us out.
Like squinting or letting one's pupil shrink in bright light, some animals can adjust how sensitive their ears are. When we're........ Read more »
Nachtigall, P., & Supin, A. (2013) A false killer whale reduces its hearing sensitivity when a loud sound is preceded by a warning. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.085068
One of the hardest questions to answer in an infectious disease outbreak investigation is "Why?"
Why then? Why there? These questions can be almost impossible to answer - not only because of their heady metaphysical nature but also because of the difficulty of assessing the minute interactions between microbe, environment and human host. Public health officials are often left shrugging their shoulders, half-heartedly admitting to an unsatisfied public that they just don't know ........ Read more »
Chua KB, Chua BH, & Wang CW. (2002) Anthropogenic deforestation, El Niño and the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia. The Malaysian journal of pathology, 24(1), 15-21. PMID: 16329551
Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt together with dental technicians have digitally analysed modern human teeth using an engineering approach, finite element method, to evaluate the biomechanical behaviour of teeth under realistic loading.... Read more »
Sandra Jacob. (2013) Material loss protects teeth against fatigue failure. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. info:/
3D Molecular Model of L-DopaDrug treatment of Parkinson's disease is a complex clinical problem. This complexity relates to several factors including incomplete response, multiple symptom domains and adverse effects of commonly used drugs.David Pedrosa and Lars Timmerman from the Department of Neurology at University Hospital Cologne in Germany have recently published an excellent review of Parkinson's disease management.The review is packed with comprehensive tables with specific drug inf........ Read more »
A new and improved green fluorescent protein, named mNeonGreen, was developed. It was engineered from a Yellow fluorescent protein (LanYFP) that was isolated from the cephalochordate Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Therefore, LanYFP is genetically unrelated to the commonly used Aequorea victoria GFP. LanYFP has … Continue reading →... Read more »
Shaner NC, Lambert GG, Chammas A, Ni Y, Cranfill PJ, Baird MA, Sell BR, Allen JR, Day RN, Israelsson M.... (2013) A bright monomeric green fluorescent protein derived from Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Nature methods, 407-409. PMID: 23524392
by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered
This is the title my friend Fred Neidhardt recently used for a talk, and a good question it is. I suppose that most microbiologists and the readers of this blog would split the answer down the middle, the biomass of this planet and the chemical transactions therein being about half microbial, half everything else. However, it’s safe to say that most people, many scientists included, are unaware of the colossal importance of the microbial half, not only in biology and medicine but in geology, m........ Read more »
McFall-Ngai, M., Hadfield, M., Bosch, T., Carey, H., Domazet-Loso, T., Douglas, A., Dubilier, N., Eberl, G., Fukami, T., Gilbert, S.... (2013) Animals in a bacterial world, a new imperative for the life sciences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(9), 3229-3236. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218525110
by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered
There’s no question that variation in size and shape has conferred selective advantages over the course of evolutionary time. One of the most obvious examples are the long neck and legs of the giraffe, which allow it to snatch foliage that is unreachable by vertically challenged competitors. The variable beak shapes and sizes of Darwin’s finches represent the diverse tool set that evolved when only certain food sources became available. And the appearance of the opposable thumb, a simple cha........ Read more »
Laubacher ME, Melquist AL, Chandramohan L, & Young KD. (2013) Cell sorting enriches Escherichia coli mutants that rely on peptidoglycan endopeptidases to suppress highly aberrant morphologies. Journal of bacteriology, 195(4), 855-66. PMID: 23243305
There are many things that can happen to a body between death and burial. A good example of this process is Weekend at Bernie’s. Bernie Lomax is murdered within the first twenty minutes of the movie, but he remains an important character as Richard and Larry feign that he is alive in order to continue to … Continue reading »... Read more »
André, A., Leahy, R., & Rottier, S. (2013) Cremated Human Remains Deposited in Two Phases: Evidence from the Necropolis of the Tuileries Site (Lyon, France: 2nd Century AD). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2317
When we adults are confronted by a bridge, we're concerned not just by its width and sturdiness, but also by the height of the drop beneath. If there's a deep canyon, we'd usually rather the bridge was mighty strong and wide. If there's but a short drop, we'll happily jaunt along the narrowest, flimsiest of crossings - after all, it won't matter much if we fall.
Infants - those aged 11 to 14 months - are different. They don't want to fall, so they're wary of narrow bridges. But the height of ........ Read more »
Kretch, K., & Adolph, K. (2013) No bridge too high: Infants decide whether to cross based on the probability of falling not the severity of the potential fall. Developmental Science, 16(3), 336-351. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12045
Homophobic protestors of gay rights assert things like "homosexuality will lead to the breakdown of civilization," and other such notions. But research is finding that some of these avid protestors are homosexuals themselves. Why is that?
Recent research looks at how cultural influences regarding homosexuality affect the psychology of homosexuals who are "in the closet." A new study is contrasted with information on pornography consumption, showing widespread hypocrisy throughout the world.... Read more »
Weinstein, N., Ryan, W., DeHaan, C., Przybylski, A., Legate, N., & Ryan, R. (2012) Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(4), 815-832. DOI: 10.1037/a0026854
This is Muse CD cover of their 6th album: "The 2nd Law":Indeed, this image is truly beautiful and remarkable. It is an image of the white matter fibers in the brain obtained with diffusion MRI (link). The image was obtained by the Human Connectome Project, which is a 5-year project funded by NIH to find the networks of the human brain. These networks will show how our brain communicates between different regions and give insight about the anatomical and functional organization of the brain. The ........ Read more »
Hasan, K., Walimuni, I., Abid, H., & Hahn, K. (2011) A review of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging computational methods and software tools. Computers in Biology and Medicine, 41(12), 1062-1072. DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2010.10.008
Kaiser, M. (2011) A tutorial in connectome analysis: Topological and spatial features of brain networks. NeuroImage, 57(3), 892-907. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.05.025
Immune cells in newborns appear to be more ready to do battle than previously thought. New Cornell research shows that small populations of preprogrammed immune cells can fight specific pathogens that they have never encountered. The findings, say the researchers, have the potential to revolutionize how and when people are immunized.... Read more »
Carly Hodes. (2013) Discovery could revolutionize immunization. Cornell Chronicle. info:/
Many researchers have claimed in the past that some of the eggs (oocytes) formed by mammals may actually originate from stem cells. In turn, this gave hope for a new possible source of stem cells that could be used to treat infertility and perhaps other diseases. Unfortunately, a new study by two researchers reveals that mice and probably humans don't use stem cells to produce eggs. Read More... Read more »
Lei, L., & Spradling, A. (2013) Female mice lack adult germ-line stem cells but sustain oogenesis using stable primordial follicles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1306189110
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