The DNA of young people is regulated to express the right genes at the right time. With the passing of years, the regulation of the DNA gradually gets disrupted, which is an important cause of ageing. A study of over 3,000 people shows that this is not true for everyone: there are people whose DNA appears youthful despite their advanced years. These are the findings of 34 researchers from six collaborating institutes led by Dr Bas Heijmans from the Leiden University Medical Center (the Netherlands), reported in Genome Biology.
A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, accordin...
"Since becoming commercially available in 1996, crops that produce Bt toxins have been widely adopted, and more than 420 million hectares have been planted around the world2. However, insect resistance quickly emerged as a major threat to the long-term success of such crops2. In a paper online in Nature, Badran et al.3 present an elegant method for the continuous evolution of engineered Bt toxins, and describe a toxin that targets a new receptor on insect cells and thus overcomes existing resistance."
The paper, "Continuous evolution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins overcomes insect resistance" is here:
For those with type 1 diabetes, regularly injecting themselves with insulin is part and parcel of their daily lives. This form of treatment hasn’t advanced much for nearly a century, so it will come as good news that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are on the verge of a breakthrough.
Retroviruses – the family of viruses that includes HIV – are almost half a billion years old, according to new research by scientists at Oxford University. That's several hundred million years older than previously thought and suggests retroviruses have ancient marine origins, having been with their animal hosts through the evolutionary transition from sea to land.
The role of both plants and soil microbes on ecosystem functioning has been long recognized, but the precise feedback mechanisms between them are more elusive. Definition of these interactions is critical if we aim to achieve an integral understanding of ecosystem functioning, and ultimately explain natural, agricultural and synthetic systems. Advances in genomic technologies and the development of more appropriate statistical, mathematical and computational frameworks enable researchers to almost fully describe and measure the diversity of microbial communities in soil, rhizosphere and plant tissues. Under the scaffold of community ecology, we integrate the observed patterns of microbial diversity with current mechanistic understanding of plant–microbe mutualistic and pathogenic interactions, and propose a model in which plant microbial communities are shaped by different ecological forces differentially through the plant life cycle. The same genomic technologies, applied on natural and reconstructed systems, establish that plant genotype has a small, but significant, effect on the microbial community composition in, on and around plant organs. Despite these advances, technical limitations are still important and only a handful of studies exist where a precise genetic element definitively participates in these interactions. Studies at the field or ecosystem level are dominated by agricultural settings, examining microbial species and communities effects on plant productivity; and conversely, that plant genetics and agricultural practices can potentially impose selective pressures on specific microbes and microbial communities. Revitalized interest in plant–soil microbial feedbacks requires researchers to systematically pose and evaluate more complex hypotheses with increasingly more realistic microbial settings. Despite the advances reviewed here, most studies focus on one aspect of plant, microbe and soil interactions. Experiments that simultaneously and methodically manipulate multiple components are necessary to establish the ecological principles, and molecular mechanisms, which drive microbially mediated plant–soil interactions. This knowledge will be critical to predict how environmental changes affect microbial and plant diversity, and will guide efforts to improve agricultural and conservation practices.
Researchers with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center successfully developed a synthetic polymer that can transport a drug into lung cancer cells without going inside of normal lung cells.
Smoking leaves its “footprint” in your DNA, according to research released Tuesday. The new findings suggest that DNA methylation — a process by which cells control gene activity — could reveal a person’s smoking history and provide researchers with potential targets for new therapies.
It was discovered some time ago that eukaryotic cells regularly secrete such structures as microvesicles, macromolecular complexes, and small molecules into their ambient environment. Exosomes are one of the types of natural nanoparticles (or nanovesicles) that have shown promise in many areas of research, diagnostics and therapy. They are small lipid membrane vesicles (30-120 nm) generated by fusion of cytoplasmic endosomal multivesicular bodies within the cell surface. Exosomes are found throughout the body in such fluids as blood, saliva, urine, and breast milk. Furthermore, all types of cells secrete them in in vitro culture. It is believed that they have many natural functions, including acting as transporters of nucleic acids (mostly RNA), cytosolic proteins and metabolites to many cells, tissues or organs throughout the body. Much remains to be understood regarding how they are formed, as well as of their targeting and ultimate physiological activity. But many don’t realize that some activities have been rather thoroughly demonstrated─ such as their function in some sort of either local or more systemic intercellular communication.
Exosomes as ToolsGeneral interest in exosomes is now growing for many reasons. One is because of the observation of their natural activity with antigen-presenting cells and in immune responses in the body. Their potential as very powerful biomedical tools of both diagnostic and therapeutic value is now being more widely reported. Applications described include using them as immunotherapeutic reagents, vectors of engineered genetic constructs, and vaccine particles. They’ve also been described as tools in the diagnosis or prognosis of a wide variety of disorders, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Also, their potential in tissue-level microcommunication is driving interest in such therapeutic activities as cardiac repair following heart attacks. Their potential as biomarkers is being explored because their content has been described as a “fingerprint” of differentiation or signaling or regulation status of the cell generating them. For example, by monitoring the exosomes secreted by transplanted cells, one may be able to predict the status or potentially even the outcome of cell therapy procedures. Clinical trials are in progress for exosomes in many therapeutic functions, for many indications. One example is using dendritic cell-derived exosomes to initiate immune response to cancers.Exosome Manufacturing
Exosome product manufacturing involves many distinct areas of study. First of all, we are interested in their efficient and robust generation at a sufficient scale. Also, because they are found in such raw materials as animal serum, avoiding process-related contaminants is a concern. Finally, a variety of means of separating them from other types of extracellular vesicles and cell debris is under study. As exosomes are being examined in so many applications, their production involves many distinct platforms and concerns. First of all, an appropriate and effective culture mode is required for any cell line that is specifically required by the application. Also, one must consider the quality systems and regulatory status of the materials and manufacturing environment for the particular product addressed. Finally, a robust process must be described for the scale and duration of production demanded. As things exist now, their production can be described as 1) the at-scale expansion and culture of the parent cell-line, 2) the collection or harvest of the culture media containing the secreted exosomes, and 3) the isolation or purification of the desired exosomes from not only other macrovesicles, macromolecular complexes, and small molecules, but from such other process contaminants as cellular debris and culture media components.
The mosquito-borne disease is spreading across the globe and has been linked to alarming birth defects and an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Scientific American has been tracking the dengue-like illness since fall 2015
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