Leaks from the lab

RNA fragment may have role in tumor suppression

A small part of the genome with previously no known function may enable scientists to halt the progression of cancer, according to new research by Yale scientists. In the study, published in the September 7–11 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Alan Garen and his colleagues detail how a particular tumor-suppressor protein that can prevent uncontrolled cell division is turned on and off by an RNA molecule from a non-coding area of the genome.

Molecular pathway affects brain damage

According to a study by Yale scientists, brain damage caused by chronic stress or lead poisoning can be mitigated by targeting a key molecular pathway. Long term stress leads to the loss of grey matter in the brain and, as a result, a decline in working memory and the ability to concentrate on tasks. Their findings, published in the Sept. 7-11 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may have implications for understanding bipolar disorder, characterized by a loss of pre-frontal grey matter.

MB&B researchers determine structure of key ribosomal protein

Yale scientists have discovered the structure of a key protein that functions in ribosomes, the protein-making apparatus in human cells. The complex is so central to survival that it has been evolutionarily conserved in organisms like yeast and extremophiles, organisms that make their home near thermal vents. The researchers, led by Susan Baserga, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, used single-particle electron microscopy to visualize the enzyme in a particular extremophile that can survive in conditions as diverse as Antarctic ice and boiling deep-sea thermal vents.

Chem. engineering faculty recognized with awards

Yale’s chemical engineering department has won five separate awards and grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the past few months. The grants were awarded to assistant professor Chinedum Osuji, Menachem Elimelech, Julie Zimmerman and Corey Wilson for projects ranging from soft matter crystals to carbon nanotubes.

Imaging technique offers insight into channel protein

Scientists have used a novel visualizing technique called single-particle reconstruction to peer inside the complex and intricate cellular world. The research, which appears in the August 30th edition of Nature’s Advance Online Publication, details the structure of the “BK” channel protein, a membrane potassium channel, that, when defective, can lead to high blood pressure or epilepsy. The map contained visual information about the protein’s voltage sensors, calcium-sensing domains and various other molecular components.

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