A pair of articles in Nature Neuroscience this month provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying spontaneous and evoked release of synaptic vesicles. Spontaneous release of a single vesicle (a "mini" release event) at a synaptic site was first observed over 50 years ago. A mini is considered to represent a single "quantum" of neurotransmitter, therefore the quantal theory of neurotransmitter release states that all synaptic responses will reflect some multiple of the response to a mini (........ Read more »
Fredj, N., & Burrone, J. (2009) A resting pool of vesicles is responsible for spontaneous vesicle fusion at the synapse. Nature Neuroscience, 12(6), 751-758. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2317
Xu, J., Pang, Z., Shin, O., & Südhof, T. (2009) Synaptotagmin-1 functions as a Ca2 sensor for spontaneous release. Nature Neuroscience, 12(6), 759-766. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2320
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that some adults have serum cross-reactive antibodies to the new influenza H1N1 virus. One of the techniques used to reach this conclusion is the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. How does this assay work?
To understand the HI assay, we must discuss the hemagglutination assay. Influenza virus particles have [...]... Read more »
J Katz, PhD, K Hancock, PhD, V Veguilla, MPH, W Zhong, PhD, XH Lu, MD, H Sun, MD, E Butler, MPH, L Dong, MD, PhD, F Liu, MD, PhD, ZN Li, MD, PhD, J DeVos, MPH, P Gargiullo, PhD, N Cox, PhD. (2009) Serum Cross-Reactive Antibody Response to a Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus After Vaccination with Seasonal Influenza Vaccine. Morbid. Mortal. Weekly Rep., 58(19), 521-524. DOI: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5819a1.htm
Potter, CW, & Oxford, JS. (1979) Determinants of immunity to influenza infection in man. Br Med Bull, 69-75.
Holly Jones and Oswald Schmitz
(Yale University, Connecticut) have compiled scientific evidence
that ecosystems typically recover within decades, not centuries.
This news feature was written on May 27, 2009.... Read more »
Personally, I’ve never had a problem with a fear of flying, a lot of people suffer from this often debilitating phobia though despite reassurances about road death statistics being much worse than air crashes. That said perhaps there is one aspect of flying that should be of concern - exposure to radiation from outer space, [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »
S. Zaichkina, O. Rozanova, G. Aptikaeva, A. Akhmadieva, H. Smirnova, S. Romanchenko, O. Vakhrusheva, S. Sorokina, A. Dyukina, & V. Peleshko. (2009) Adaptive response and genetic instability induced in mice in vivo by low dose-rate radiation simulating high-altitude flight conditions. Int. J. Low Radiation, 6(1), 28-36.
Through sheer persistence, Beedle and Tatum unify biochemistry and genetics, ushering in a new age in biology. ... Read more »
Beadle, G.W. . (1941) The genetic control of biochemical reactions in Neurospora. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 499-506. DOI: 16588492
You are never alone. Not even when you might want to be. Tucked away within the ~100m2 of your bowels are ~1014 (there are ~1013 somatic and germinal cells in the human body) of your closest friends, collectively termed The Microbiota. They eat, spawn, conjugate, die, poop, fight, and secrete right there inside of you, unseen and mostly unthought of except when something is wrong. This system, the remarkably homeostatic mammalian gut, forms what is perhaps the densest and most complex microb........ Read more »
Artis, D. (2008) Epithelial-cell recognition of commensal bacteria and maintenance of immune homeostasis in the gut. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8(6), 411-420. DOI: 10.1038/nri2316
When the going gets tough, thousands of people try to boost their failing self-esteem by repeating positive statements to themselves. Encouraged by magazine columnists, self-help books and talk-show hosts, people prepare for challenges by chanting positive mantras like "I am a strong, powerful person," and, "Nothing can stop me from achieving my dreams." This approach has been championed at least as far back as Norman Vincent Peale's infamous book The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 195........ Read more »
Wood, J., Elaine Perunovic, W., & Lee, J. (2009) Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02370.x
...err..well, not exactly. But it is a much easier way for a 45 ton sperm whale to get a quick bite to eat. This amazing footage of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) shaking cod fishing lines 108 m deep off the coast of Sitka, Alaska, is the first ever of sperm whales feeding - albeit not on its usual prey, the massive squids of the deep sea. Most of the time, sperm whales dive to a staggering 900 to 2600 feet (that's up to half a mile or so deep) to catch their meals. At such depths, with n........ Read more »
Mathias, D., Thode, A., Straley, J., & Folkert, K. (2009) Relationship between sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) click structure and size derived from videocamera images of a depredating whale (sperm whale prey acquisition). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(5), 3444. DOI: 10.1121/1.3097758
“Not so tough now, are ya?”I think everyone secretly hopes to utter that phrase someday to someone who blusters and bullies and threatens.There’s a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s film Death Proof where Kurt Russell’s character, Stuntman Mike – who has just been terrorizing a group of women on the highway – gets shot. He runs like hell and is pretty soon all but balling his eyes out.I like the scene a lot, because we rarely see it acknowledged in movies or TV that getting shot........ Read more »
Moore, J., Obbard, D., Reuter, C., West, S., & Cook, J. (2009) Male morphology and dishonest signalling in a fig wasp. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.04.006
Rosy Apple Aphid (Whalon lab, MSU)
While nothing can match the pure undiluted awesomeness that is the parasitoid wasp/bracovirus symbiosis,1 there are other symbioses that are at least in the same ballpark. The latest one I’ve learned about is the relationship between a densovirus and the rosy apple aphid. 2 I can’t do better than to quote [...]... Read more »
Ryabov, E., Keane, G., Naish, N., Evered, C., & Winstanley, D. (2009) Densovirus induces winged morphs in asexual clones of the rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(21), 8465-8470. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901389106
If you can't tell by now, Sci is something of a dopamine junkie.
Ooooh yeah. See that? That's great. You wanna hit?
Anyway, when one first learns about dopamine, you learn about a "reward" molecule, the one that makes you feel good. Sounds like dope for a reason. But over time, scientist have found that it's not just about reward with dopamine. Dopamine has a lot more to do with things we like to call salience and value. The salience of a cue is in part related to its strength, and it p........ Read more »
Matsumoto, M., & Hikosaka, O. (2009) Two types of dopamine neuron distinctly convey positive and negative motivational signals. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08028
I was away for the Memorial Day weekend last Friday and hence missed the big news in oncology that Johnson and Johnson were purchasing Cougar Biotechnology for $1 billion. Note the whole company, not just a licensing deal for the...... Read more »
Attard, G., Reid, A., A'Hern, R., Parker, C., Oommen, N., Folkerd, E., Messiou, C., Molife, L., Maier, G., Thompson, E.... (2009) Selective Inhibition of CYP17 With Abiraterone Acetate Is Highly Active in the Treatment of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.0642
One of the issues inherent in research of a late stage age-related condition is that a lot of different things are going wrong with the body at the same time. The comparatively few categories of age-related damage have spilled over into hundreds of different types of malfunctions and the further disarray resulting from those malfunctions. By way of an analogy, consider rust in a machine: rust is a simple process, but the way in which the machine eventually breaks down can be a very complicated s........ Read more »
Srikanth, V., Maczurek, A., Phan, T., Steele, M., Westcott, B., Juskiw, D., & Münch, G. (2009) Advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor RAGE in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.04.016
It is funny how people play with history. If we talk about an important "first" that is viewed in a positive light ... the origin of beer for instance ... the slightest evidence will be used by the people of a given region to claim primacy. Also, since Africa almost always gets the shaft in this regard, all else being equal, an early African occurrence of something good will be assumed as not definitive, but vague evidence of the non-African first occurrence will be taken more seriously. Serio........ Read more »
Robbins, G., Tripathy, V., Misra, V., Mohanty, R., Shinde, V., Gray, K., & Schug, M. (2009) Ancient Skeletal Evidence for Leprosy in India (2000 B.C.). PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005669
I wrote a while back in the fourth part of my series on cellular intelligence about localized calculations and the role of diffusion in both localizing them and slowing down any calculation that must cross significant distances. As several of the refereneces in that post demonstrated,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 signal propagation over longer distances than is possible with diffusion require some sort of active movement.Two recent papers I hadn't previously discovered offer information in this regard.2, 3Br........ Read more »
Kulic, I., Brown, A., Kim, H., Kural, C., Blehm, B., Selvin, P., Nelson, P., & Gelfand, V. (2008) The role of microtubule movement in bidirectional organelle transport. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(29), 10011-10016. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0800031105
Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy (University of Michigan)
and coworkers have presented new evidence implicating the role
of individual protein molecules and small protein chains in
the damage done to pancreatic cells seen in type 2 diabetes.
This news feature was written on May 26, 2009.... Read more »
Soong, R., Brender, J. R., Macdonald, P. M., & Ramamoorthy, A. (2009) Association of Highly Compact Type II Diabetes Related Islet Amyloid Polypeptide Intermediate Species at Physiological Temperature Revealed by Diffusion NMR Spectroscopy. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(20), 7079-7085. DOI: 10.1021/ja900285z
by Mary in OpenHelix
If you are an American woman of a certain age, chances are that like me your first written introduction to reproductive biology was with Judy Blume. I was thinking back to that time this weekend as I came across several papers in Nature Genetics that addressed the timing of certain female-affecting SNPs. Unfortunately I found [...]... Read more »
Perry, J., Stolk, L., Franceschini, N., Lunetta, K., Zhai, G., McArdle, P., Smith, A., Aspelund, T., Bandinelli, S., Boerwinkle, E.... (2009) Meta-analysis of genome-wide association data identifies two loci influencing age at menarche. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.386
Stolk, L., Zhai, G., van Meurs, J., Verbiest, M., Visser, J., Estrada, K., Rivadeneira, F., Williams, F., Cherkas, L., Deloukas, P.... (2009) Loci at chromosomes 13, 19 and 20 influence age at natural menopause. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.387
Sulem, P., Gudbjartsson, D., Rafnar, T., Holm, H., Olafsdottir, E., Olafsdottir, G., Jonsson, T., Alexandersen, P., Feenstra, B., Boyd, H.... (2009) Genome-wide association study identifies sequence variants on 6q21 associated with age at menarche. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.383
In order to evaluate new DNA sequencing technologies and better delineate the phylogeny of the caprinae (goat-antelope subfamily of Bovidae), several scientists from Spain recently extracted and sequenced 6,000 year old DNA from an extinct Balearic Island Cave Goat (Myotragus balearicus).
... Read more »
Ramírez, O., Gigli, E., Bover, P., Alcover, J., Bertranpetit, J., Castresana, J., & Lalueza-Fox, C. (2009) Paleogenomics in a Temperate Environment: Shotgun Sequencing from an Extinct Mediterranean Caprine. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005670
Caco2 colon carcinoma cells
One of my long-standing questions now has at least a partial answer, or maybe a pathway toward a partial answer.
My question was, “Why are different tumors the same?” That is, why do tumors of the same type often seem to have similar immunological changes?
Viruses of the same kind (all herpes [...]... Read more »
de Miranda, N., Nielsen, M., Pereira, D., van Puijenbroek, M., Vasen, H., Hes, F., van Wezel, T., & Morreau, H. (2009) MUTYH-associated polyposis carcinomas frequently lose HLA class I expression-a common event amongst DNA-repair-deficient colorectal cancers. The Journal of Pathology. DOI: 10.1002/path.2569
As far as we know, every living on our planet has something in common besides the same nucleotides and amino acids. Aging. When scientists started deciphering genomes and what specific genes did, the idea was that aging came from a preprogrammed set of genetic instructions and death was triggered by some sort of kill switch. [...]... Read more »
BUDOVSKAYA, Y., WU, K., SOUTHWORTH, L., JIANG, M., TEDESCO, P., JOHNSON, T., & KIM, S. (2008) An elt-3/elt-5/elt-6 GATA Transcription Circuit Guides Aging in C. elegans. Cell, 134(2), 291-303. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.05.044
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