In biology, as in real estate, location matters. Working copies of active genes—called messenger RNAs or mRNAs—are positioned strategically throughout living tissues, and their location often helps regulate how cells and tissues grow and develop. But to analyze many mRNAs simultaneously, scientists have had to grind cells to a pulp, which left them no good way to pinpoint where those mRNAs sat within the cell.
In the heart, as in the movies, 3D action beats the 2D experience hands down. In 3D, healthy hearts do their own version of the twist. Rather than a simple pumping action, they circulate blood as if they were wringing a towel. The bottom of the heart twists as it contracts in a counterclockwise direction while the top twists clockwise. Scientists call this the left ventricular twist—and it can be used as an indicator of heart health.
Researchers say the discovery of how sodium ions pass through the gill of a zebrafish may be a clue to understanding a key function in the human kidney. The researchers discovered a protein responsible for gas exchanges in the fish gill structure. Specifically they studied and characterized the Na+/H+ (sodium/hydrogen) exchanger named NHE3, responsible for controlling sodium and hydrogen ions across the gill.
A new bioprinting method creates intricately patterned 3D tissue constructs with multiple types of cells and tiny blood vessels. The work represents a major step toward a longstanding goal of tissue engineers: creating human tissue constructs realistic enough to test drug safety and effectiveness.
Clemson University researchers have developed nanoparticles that can deliver drugs targeting damaged arteries, a non-invasive method to fight heart disease. One of the standard ways to treat clogged and damaged arteries currently is to implant vascular stents, which hold the vessels open and release such drugs as paclitaxel. The researchers hope their advanced nanoparticles could be used alongside stents or in lieu of them.
A team reports that they have taken an important step toward the goal of growing replacement heart valves from a patient’s own cells by determining that the mechanical forces generated by the rhythmic expansion and contraction of cardiac muscle cells play an active role in the initial stage of heart valve formation.
In 2011, biologists at Caltech demonstrated a highly effective method for delivering HIV-fighting antibodies to mice—a treatment that protected the mice from infection by a laboratory strain of HIV delivered intravenously. Now the researchers, led by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, have shown that the same procedure is just as effective against a strain of HIV found in the real world, even when transmitted across mucosal surfaces.
Broader global access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapies and wider implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies could potentially control and perhaps end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, a safe and at least moderately effective HIV vaccine is needed to reach this goal more expeditiously and in a more sustainable way, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the NIAID.
A new Mayo Clinic study found that among middle-aged men and women, 40 to 60 years old, the overall incidence of skin cancer increased nearly eightfold between 1970 and 2009. There has been widespread concern in recent years about the rising incidence of melanoma, which affects 75,000 Americans annually and results in nearly 9,000 deaths. Few studies, however, have investigated which age brackets of adults are most at risk.
The accumulation of age-associated changes in a biochemical process that helps control genes may be responsible for some of the increased risk of cancer seen in older people, according to a National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study.
In one of the first studies to show a significant association between BPA and cancer development, University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers have found liver tumors in mice exposed to the chemical via their mothers during gestation and nursing.
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that valproic acid, a widely prescribed drug for treating epilepsy, has the additional benefits of reducing fat accumulation in the liver and lowering blood sugar levels in the blood of obese mice.
A fundamental axiom of biology used to be that cell fate is a one-way street—once a cell commits to becoming muscle, skin, or blood it always remains muscle, skin, or blood cell. That belief was upended in the past decade when a Japanese scientist introduced four simple factors into skin cells and returned them to an embryonic-like state, capable of becoming of almost any cell type in the body.
An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world’s most devastating plagues – the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe—were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s.
Living cells are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a new imaging technique that needs no dyes or other chemicals, yet renders high-resolution, three-dimensional, quantitative imagery of cells and their internal structures.