Insight on Research


First high-resolution 3D structure of a DNA origami object

Many processes in biology rely on the relative position and orientation of interacting molecules. However, because of their small size and the constant thermal fluctuations that they experience in solution, molecules are very difficult to observe and control. In the field of nano-technology, researchers have developed a technique to construct nano-scaled 3D objects out of DNA.

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Fruit fly research highlights key mechanism in organ formation

Katja Röper, Independent Investigator Scientist in the LMB’s Cell Biology Division, has discovered a key mechanism of tissue and organ formation in fruit flies that might also apply in vertebrates.
Many organs in both vertebrates and invertebrates, such as the gut, liver, kidney, vasculature and lung, are tubular in structure. The formation of tubular structures through processes collectively called tubulogenesis is a key process of organ formation in all animals.

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The proteasome: a vital amino acid recycling machine

The proteasome is essential for the controlled degradation of a large number of unwanted or damaged proteins in all cells and thereby controls virtually every cellular process. While it has long been known that inhibition of proteasome degradation is lethal, the underlying mechanisms have remained elusive.
Anne Bertolotti’s group, in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, have discovered that proteasome inhibition causes a lethal amino acid imbalance in yeast, mammalian cells and Drosophila.

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First insight into peptide-receptor interaction

LMB scientists, Chris Tate and Yoko Shibata, have collaborated with researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, to provide the first detailed description of how a neuropeptide hormone, neurotensin, interacts with its receptor.
Neurotensin modulates nerve cell activity in the brain. When bound to its receptor it commences a series of reactions in nerve cells, and is involved in temperature regulation, pain and digestive processes.

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Sweet answer to the origins of life

New research, from John Sutherland and Dougal Ritson in the LMB’s PNAC division, delivers a breakthrough in the chemistry of the origin of life. Whilst some maintain that life formed elsewhere in the Universe and was transported to earth, the duo’s findings, published in Nature Chemistry, suggest that the genetic material essential for all known life originated from nothing more than our primitive planet’s atmosphere and the minerals on its surface.

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New insight into common mutations in human cancers

One of the most commonly mutated genes in human cancers is the lipid kinase PIK3CA (phosphoinositide 3-kinase alpha). Mutations can activate this enzyme, resulting in proliferation of tumour cells and resistance to programmed cell death or apoptosis.

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Alcohol by-product destroys blood stem cells

New research shows that acetaldehyde, the breakdown product generated when the body removes alcohol, causes irreversible damage to the DNA of stem cells in the body’s ‘blood cell factory’ – the bone marrow.
The research, published in Nature, was carried out by a team of scientists led by KJ Patel in the LMB’s PNAC Division.

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Genetic code engineering in Drosophila melanogaster

In the past few years, the ability to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins has begun to have a direct impact on the ability of scientists to study biological processes that are difficult or impossible to address by more classical methods.
New research, led by members of Jason Chin’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division, has for the first time focused on expanding the genetic code of a complex multicellular organism, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

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New Insight on General Mechanism Behind Gene Expression

New research, resulting from a collaboration between two groups, led by Sarah Teichmann and Madan Babu, in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, advances our understanding of the interplay between the two most abundant classes of DNA binding proteins that are responsible for regulating physiological diversity in organisms.

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Research shows the power of exploiting publicly available data to reveal new principles in biology

A comprehensive investigation of several large-scale datasets, led by M. Madan Babu’s group in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, provides new insights into tissue-specific splicing – the mechanism responsible for increasing the functional diversity of proteins and for attaining tissue identity during development.

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