Insight on Research


New evidence of nuocyte involvement in allergic asthma

Andrew McKenzie’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division have shown for the first time that a new immune cell type, the nuocyte, can orchestrate the initiation of allergic asthma in an experimental model. Nuocytes were shown to cause airway hyperactivity – a key feature of human asthma.

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New intracellular transport system discovered.

Melina Schuh, in the LMB’s Cell Biology Division, has uncovered for the first time a new transport system for long-range transport of vesicles in animal cells. This discovery could re-write the textbooks on the subject.
Intracellular transport is vital for the function, survival and architecture of every cell. The contents of our body’s cells are constantly on the move.

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In vivo role for Fanconi Anaemia DNA repair pathway identified

KJ Patel’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division have uncovered for the first time, how excess alcohol can cause irreparable damage to our DNA. In a new study published in the journal Nature today, they also discovered a two-tier defence system in our cells that limits the threat of permanent genetic damage.
KJ’s group have discovered that an overload of a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde, a by-product from the breakdown of alcohol in our body, can cause damage to DNA.

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Digitization of visual signals in the retina

Vision is perhaps the most important sense by which we understand the world. Visual information is transmitted by nerve cells sending signals to each other through special connections called synapses. But how does this happen?
Leon Lagnado’s group in the Neurobiology Division of the LMB is investigating how visual signals are transmitted between neurons in the retina.

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Link Between Ribosome Maturation and Cancer

A group of collaborative researchers, led by Alan Warren’s group at the LMB, have discovered a surprising link between human ribosome maturation and cancer.
The team identified the conserved mechanism that underlies a critical step in the maturation of ribosomes and showed that this step is defective in an inherited form of bone marrow failure that is associated with significant leukemia predisposition (Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, SDS).

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LMB scientists reconstruct ‘Nature’s first enzyme’.

The origin of life is one of the great, unsolved mysteries of biology. In a quest to improve understanding of how life might have originally emerged, a group of LMB scientists have managed to construct an enzyme that can mimic how the first forms of life may have arisen and begun to evolve – before DNA came along.

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A small molecule to correct protein folding defects.

The deposition of misfolded proteins is a central characteristic of many devastating diseases including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and prion diseases. In principle, improving the cells’ ability to deal with misfolded proteins should reduce the pathology in these diverse neurodegenerative diseases.

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First X-ray crystal structure of dynein motor domain

The first X-ray crystal structure of the motor domain of cytoplasmic dynein, a protein that uses the cellular energy from ATP to walk along microtubule tracks that run throughout the cell, has been solved.
Cytoplasmic dynein moves numerous cargos around the cell including proteins and RNAs that set up the cell polarity, membraneous organelles, aggregated proteins that are toxic unless collected and disposed of, and even whole nuclei.

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Propagation of mutant SOD1 misfolding.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by the progressive dysfunction of specific nerve cells that control muscle movement. It belongs to a group of devastating neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and prion diseases. Each disease is caused by the progressive accumulation of specific proteins in an aberrant, misfolded shape. The formation of the protein deposits is somehow toxic to nerve cells but why and how they initially form is unclear.

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