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  • October 24, 2014
  • 09:15 AM
  • 1 view

The Friday Five for 10/24/14

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

A fun look at cool science news: making the blind see, the paralyzed walk, the first copulation sex, and fun with dry ice!... Read more »

  • October 24, 2014
  • 06:49 AM
  • 2 views

Blocking Key Gene To Stop Malaria Transmission

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Earlier this week Pieter wrote about a key gene in the transmission of Malaria. Now he explains more about blocking this gene to prevent spreading.... Read more »

Kafsack BF, Rovira-Graells N, Clark TG, Bancells C, Crowley VM, Campino SG, Williams AE, Drought LG, Kwiatkowski DP, Baker DA.... (2014) A transcriptional switch underlies commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites. Nature, 507(7491), 248-52. PMID: 24572369  

Kåhrström CT. (2014) Parasite development: master regulator of sex. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 12(4), 233. PMID: 24608336  

Rovira-Graells N, Gupta AP, Planet E, Crowley VM, Mok S, Ribas de Pouplana L, Preiser PR, Bozdech Z, & Cortés A. (2012) Transcriptional variation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome research, 22(5), 925-38. PMID: 22415456  

Gardner, M., Hall, N., Fung, E., White, O., Berriman, M., Hyman, R., Carlton, J., Pain, A., Nelson, K., Bowman, S.... (2002) Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Nature, 419(6906), 498-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature01097  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 03:00 AM
  • 1 view

Somatic mutations in FLCN can cause cancer

by Lizzie Perdeaux in BHD Research Blog

The majority of research on FLCN is within the context of BHD syndrome, which is caused by heterozygous germline mutations in the FLCN gene. However, two recent papers have reported that somatic FLCN mutations may be a factor in the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Wagle N, Grabiner BC, Van Allen EM, Amin-Mansour A, Taylor-Weiner A, Rosenberg M, Gray N, Barletta JA, Guo Y, Swanson SJ.... (2014) Response and acquired resistance to everolimus in anaplastic thyroid cancer. The New England journal of medicine, 371(15), 1426-33. PMID: 25295501  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 02:51 AM
  • 16 views

Autism, siblings and DSM-5 Social Communication Disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quick post to bring to your attention the paper by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Pragmatic language problems are present in some siblings of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] as early as 36 months of age". Further: "As the new DSM-5 diagnosis of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) is thought to occur more frequently in family members of individuals with ASD, it is possible that some of these siblings will meet criteria for SCD as th........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2014
  • 05:58 PM
  • 26 views

The Genes Responsible for Immune System Reset after Infection

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all been sick before, the aches and pains that come with it– most of the time including a fever — are all responses to our immune system kicking into high gear. But what if your body didn’t reverse course and go back to a, let’s call it” relaxed state.” Once the battle is won, the body’s efforts would be wasted on energy costing defense. A bad thing when the body really should be focusing on repairing the damage done by the foreign invaders.... Read more »

Brian Head,, & Alejandro Aballay. (2014) Recovery from an Acute Infection in C. elegans Requires the GATA Transcription Factor ELT-2. PLoS Genetics. info:/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004609

  • October 23, 2014
  • 09:05 AM
  • 32 views

The Monster Mash – Diseases That May Have Spawned Monster Legends

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Creepy diseases that produce symptoms that mimic characteristics associated with legendary monsters!... Read more »

Schulenburg-Brand D, Katugampola R, Anstey AV, & Badminton MN. (2014) The cutaneous porphyrias. Dermatologic clinics, 32(3), 369. PMID: 24891059  

Deshmukh S, & Prashanth S. (2012) Ectodermal dysplasia: a genetic review. International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry, 5(3), 197-202. PMID: 25206167  

Ramirez-Bermudez J, Aguilar-Venegas LC, Crail-Melendez D, Espinola-Nadurille M, Nente F, & Mendez MF. (2010) Cotard syndrome in neurological and psychiatric patients. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 22(4), 409-16. PMID: 21037126  

  • October 23, 2014
  • 07:38 AM
  • 36 views

Four Solar-Powered Animals

by beredim in Strange Animals

Photosynthesis, a process used by plants and some bacteria to convert light from the sun into chemical energy which can be later released to fuel their activities. Animals on the other hand, have to consume other organisms in order to cover their energy needs. But every rule has an exception.In recent years, researchers have discovered a small number of animals that much like plants have found a way to directly harness and feed off the Sun’s energy.1# Oriental Hornet (Vespa orientalis)Typicall........ Read more »

Rumpho ME, Worful JM, Lee J, Kannan K, Tyler MS, Bhattacharya D, Moustafa A, & Manhart JR. (2008) Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(46), 17867-71. PMID: 19004808  

Plotkin M, Hod I, Zaban A, Boden SA, Bagnall DM, Galushko D, & Bergman DJ. (2010) Solar energy harvesting in the epicuticle of the oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis). Die Naturwissenschaften, 97(12), 1067-76. PMID: 21052618  

Valmalette, J., Dombrovsky, A., Brat, P., Mertz, C., Capovilla, M., & Robichon, A. (2012) Light- induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep00579  

Kerney, R., Kim, E., Hangarter, R., Heiss, A., Bishop, C., & Hall, B. (2011) Intracellular invasion of green algae in a salamander host. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(16), 6497-6502. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018259108  

  • October 23, 2014
  • 04:46 AM
  • 34 views

Postpartum depression and the broader autism phenotype?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The findings suggest that pregnant women with BAP [broader autism phenotype] have an elevated risk for PPD [postpartum depression]".That was the conclusion reached by Ryosuke Asano and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of data derived from the Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study [2]. The idea being that the more subtle presentation of issues linked to a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (the BAP) might predispose to a great likelihood of other behavioural or psychiat........ Read more »

Asano, R., Tsuchiya, K., Takei, N., Harada, T., Kugizaki, Y., Nakahara, R., Nakayasu, C., Okumura, A., Suzuki, Y., Takagai, S.... (2014) Broader autism phenotype as a risk factor for postpartum depression: Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(12), 1672-1678. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.08.010  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 11:05 PM
  • 37 views

Microscopic observation in live tissue, awesome! But don’t ignore the methods

by Austin Bouck in Animal Science Review

The NIH sent me an email this week (via the various government listservs I’m enrolled in) that was proudly declaring that the mysteries of the cell were being solved right now, so I took the clickbait. In it was a cool study where we were able to actively watch mitochondria oscillate inside a living animal...... Read more »

Natalie Porat-Shliom, Yun Chen, Muhibullah Tora, Akiko Shitara, Andrius Masedunskas, & Roberto Weigertemail. (2014) In Vivo Tissue-wide Synchronization of Mitochondrial Metabolic Oscillations. Cell Reports. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.09.022

Weigert R, Porat-Shliom N, & Amornphimoltham P. (2013) Imaging cell biology in live animals: ready for prime time. The Journal of cell biology, 201(7), 969-79. PMID: 23798727  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 47 views

Converting Skin Cells to Neurons: A Fight Against Huntington’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Neurological diseases are some of the hardest to fight against (in my opinion). The big reason is the brain, we still know so little about it and treatment for anything effecting it can be difficult to say the least. Take Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. There is no cure and no real treatment, but that might change relatively soon thanks to a new discovery.... Read more »

Victor, M., Richner, M., Hermanstyne, T., Ransdell, J., Sobieski, C., Deng, P., Klyachko, V., Nerbonne, J., & Yoo, A. (2014) Generation of Human Striatal Neurons by MicroRNA-Dependent Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts. Neuron, 84(2), 311-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.016  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 09:46 AM
  • 48 views

Video Tip of the Week: SeqMonk

by Mary in OpenHelix

Always on the lookout for effective visualization tools, I recently came across a series of videos about the SeqMonk software. It’s not software that I had used before, so I wanted to look at the videos, and then try it out. It downloaded quickly, offered me an extensive list of genomes to load up, and […]... Read more »

  • October 22, 2014
  • 08:05 AM
  • 48 views

Death By Haunted House

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

People enjoy a good scare at Halloween, it’s an epinephrine rush without the bother of real danger. But could you actually be scared to death? Science says yes, it should really be called the fight, flight, faint, or fatality response. In susceptible people, a severe fright can literally change the shape of the heart and destroy the efficient pumping of blood. Unfortunately, something similar can happen in infants, and it can be lethal as well.... Read more »

  • October 22, 2014
  • 07:29 AM
  • 39 views

Crucial gene for Malaria Transmission

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

A new step in battling Malaria: making transmission its weakest link. Scientists could prevent the development of gametocytes.... Read more »

Kafsack BF, Rovira-Graells N, Clark TG, Bancells C, Crowley VM, Campino SG, Williams AE, Drought LG, Kwiatkowski DP, Baker DA.... (2014) A transcriptional switch underlies commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites. Nature, 507(7491), 248-52. PMID: 24572369  

Kåhrström CT. (2014) Parasite development: master regulator of sex. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 12(4), 233. PMID: 24608336  

Rovira-Graells N, Gupta AP, Planet E, Crowley VM, Mok S, Ribas de Pouplana L, Preiser PR, Bozdech Z, & Cortés A. (2012) Transcriptional variation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome research, 22(5), 925-38. PMID: 22415456  

Gardner, M., Hall, N., Fung, E., White, O., Berriman, M., Hyman, R., Carlton, J., Pain, A., Nelson, K., Bowman, S.... (2002) Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Nature, 419(6906), 498-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature01097  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 04:26 AM
  • 49 views

Autism, parental concerns and socioeconomic status

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to think that there are some rather important messages to be taken from the paper by Xiang Sun and colleagues [1] on level of parental concern, socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of autism. Not only did the authors conclude that: "a higher SES was not associated with the risk of having ASC [autism spectrum conditions]" they also found that: "No child met ASC criteria where parents expressed no concerns".Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?SES - including variab........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2014
  • 07:00 AM
  • 62 views

Not Quite Dead Yet

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

History shows that premature burial was more common than people might want to believe. Many burial traditions, including the Irish wake, stem from trying to prevent someone from being buried alive. How might this happen? Several medical conditions can lead to a poor decision on burial time. ... Read more »

Christopher Dibble. (2010) The Dead Ringer: Medicine, Poe, and the fear of premature burial. Historia Medicinae. info:/

  • October 21, 2014
  • 04:53 AM
  • 55 views

Antibiotics and childhood obesity: a weighty correlation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a few weeks since the publication of the paper by L. Charles Bailey and colleagues [1] correlating early multiple exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics with obesity in infancy. On purpose I've left it a while before talking about this research so as to let the scientific dust settle a little and get a flavour for some of the discussions about this research (see here and see here).You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?A few details about the Bailey study first:Looking at the el........ Read more »

Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A, & DeRusso PA. (2014) Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity. JAMA pediatrics. PMID: 25265089  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 63 views

Reasons for visiting ER by those with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

ER - Emergency Room - or as we call it here in Blighty Accident & Emergency (A & E), is never a particularly desirable place to visit given the emphasis on illness or injury of yourself or loved one. That being said, staff there do a sterling job sometimes under very stressful circumstances, responding to all-manner of complaints, some of which are life-threatening.The paper by Dorothea Iannuzzi and colleagues [1] sought to identify some of the medical reasons why ER visit........ Read more »

Iannuzzi DA, Cheng ER, Broder-Fingert S, & Bauman ML. (2014) Brief Report: Emergency Department Utilization by Individuals with Autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25261249  

  • October 19, 2014
  • 01:43 PM
  • 64 views

DNA Nanotech: The First Large DNA Crystals

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

DNA is the stuff of life as we know it, but it is the potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more. Researchers have been working to master the ability to coax DNA molecules to self assemble into the precise shapes and sizes needed in order to fully realize these nanotechnology dreams. A dream that been going on for 20 years now and was just realized.... Read more »

Ke, Y., Ong, L., Sun, W., Song, J., Dong, M., Shih, W., & Yin, P. (2014) DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths. Nature Chemistry. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2083  

  • October 19, 2014
  • 11:00 AM
  • 69 views

Ten years into the making, the HIV-1 mosaic vaccine finally goes into human trial

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

© Bette Korber et al. I hope you will all forgive me if this week I'm gushing over my amazing mentor Bette Korber, as last week she shared some awesome news on Facebook:"A landmark in my life happened yesterday, a major step in a long story. A decade ago I had an idea for making an HIV vaccine that had the potential to work globally. After a struggle (in my first 2 failed proposals, reviewers declared what I proposed was impossible), I got an internal grant from Los Alamos to develop the idea (........ Read more »

Fischer W, Perkins S, Theiler J, Bhattacharya T, Yusim K, Funkhouser R, Kuiken C, Haynes B, Letvin NL, Walker BD.... (2007) Polyvalent vaccines for optimal coverage of potential T-cell epitopes in global HIV-1 variants. Nature medicine, 13(1), 100-6. PMID: 17187074  

Nkolola JP, Bricault CA, Cheung A, Shields J, Perry J, Kovacs JM, Giorgi E, van Winsen M, Apetri A, Brinkman-van der Linden EC.... (2014) Characterization and immunogenicity of a novel mosaic M HIV-1 gp140 trimer. Journal of virology, 88(17), 9538-52. PMID: 24965452  

Barouch DH, Stephenson KE, Borducchi EN, Smith K, Stanley K, McNally AG, Liu J, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Seaman MS.... (2013) Protective efficacy of a global HIV-1 mosaic vaccine against heterologous SHIV challenges in rhesus monkeys. Cell, 155(3), 531-9. PMID: 24243013  

Barouch DH, O'Brien KL, Simmons NL, King SL, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Sun YH, La Porte A, Riggs AM, Lynch DM.... (2010) Mosaic HIV-1 vaccines expand the breadth and depth of cellular immune responses in rhesus monkeys. Nature medicine, 16(3), 319-23. PMID: 20173752  

  • October 18, 2014
  • 02:55 PM
  • 74 views

New Genetic Test to help Solve Rare Disease Diagnosis

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

My sister suffers from a rare disease which causes small fiber polyneuropathy, or the killing of nerves in her hands and feet. As it progresses she has trouble standing or using her hands. If that was the worst of it, then it might be liveable given the time between severe attacks is years or more. Unfortunately, it also causes intense and mostly constant pain and burning sensations, pain so bad that conventional narcotic painkillers have trouble controlling it. After some time working with the ........ Read more »

Lee, H., Deignan, J., Dorrani, N., Strom, S., Kantarci, S., Quintero-Rivera, F., Das, K., Toy, T., Harry, B., Yourshaw, M.... (2014) Clinical Exome Sequencing for Genetic Identification of Rare Mendelian Disorders. JAMA. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.14604  

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