Insight on Research


A switch in the brain

Research from Greg Jefferis’s group in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division has uncovered a biological switch that determines which part of the fruit fly’s brain responds to pheromones, depending on whether the fruit fly is male or female. Previous studies have identified differences in brain structure between the sexes but this study, published in Cell, is the first description in any animal of a specific change in nerve cell wiring that reroutes information between male and female brains.

More…

Published

Exploiting the power of evolution to create designer proteins

Research led by Professor Nick Brindle at the University of Leicester and Julian Sale from the LMB’s PNAC Division has resulted in the production of a molecule that has great therapeutic potential in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Much of the work took place while Nick was on sabbatical at the LMB and involved additional input from Dr Hiroshi Arakawa in Italy and Dr Jean-Marie Buerstedde at Yale.
Angiopoietins play a critical role in the development and maintenance of blood vessels.

More…

Published

LMB researchers one step closer to the ‘RNA world’

New research from Philipp Holliger’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division demonstrates the power RNA could have wielded to enable the first forms of life on Earth to reproduce and thrive.
At its most basic level, all life can be viewed as a mechanism for self-replication: organisms reproduce by making new copies of themselves and of the genetic information that defines them.

More…

Published

Discovery of the genetic basis of a rare immune disease

Work led by Sergey Nejentsev and Alison Condliffe from the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Roger Williams’ group in the LMB’s PNAC Division, the Babraham Institute has discovered a rare genetic disease which predisposes patients to severe respiratory infections and lung damage.

More…

Published

Understanding timekeeping in an intertidal marine crustacean

Work carried out by Michael Hastings’ group in the LMB Neurobiology’s Division, together with collaborators at Leicester, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities has combined expertise in molecular genetics and marine biology to address a long-standing question about tidal behaviour in marine organisms. They were interested in whether these animals are driven by a dedicated internal tidal clock or are controlled by a system based on a modified 24-hour circadian clock.

More…

Published

Vesicles modulate an actin network for asymmetric spindle positioning in oocytes

Work carried out by Melina Schuh’s group in the LMB’s Cell Biology Division has provided new insights into how the spindle is asymmetrically positioned in oocytes, which is a vital step in the development of a fertilizable egg in mammals.
The oocyte is stored in the ovary in meiotic arrest until ovulation. At ovulation, the primary oocyte completes meiosis I and discards half of its chromosomes in a small cell termed the polar body.

More…

Published

Identifying behavioural functions for genes has produced a key resource for neuroscience research

While fully sequenced genomes are available for many important experimental organisms, a major challenge has been to identify the functions of the genes identified. A method for phenotyping that is both high-throughput, so all an organism’s genes can be phenotyped, and high-content, so inferences about gene function can be made with precision, has been required.
The nematode worm, C. elegans, is a major experimental model for neuroscience, as well as aging and development.

More…

Published

The smell of food ‘wakes up’ the zebrafish visual system

New research from Leon Lagnado’s group in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division shows how food-related smells ‘re-tune’ zebrafish vision by making the retina more sensitive to moving objects, such as the prey that zebrafish eat.
The way the brain processes information from one sense depends on the activity of other senses. For instance, we all know that to listen closely to some music, it often helps to shut one’s eyes.

More…

Published

Work on ubiquitination reveals insights into disease

Recent work carried out by David Komander’s group in the LMB’s Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division, and published in two separate papers, has provided insight into human disease and the role played by ubiquitination, a process that affects many fundamental cellular processes.
Work in David’s group aims to understand the cellular machinery for specific ubiquitin (Ub) assembly, disassembly, and binding on a structural and biochemical level.

More…

Published

Insights into spliceosomal activation and molecular pathology of retinitis pigmentosa eye disease

Work published in the journal Structure by Kiyoshi Nagai’s group in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, has provided further detailed information on the structure and role of proteins at the active site of the spliceosome, and may also help to explain the molecular pathology of the eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa type 13 (RP13).

More…

Published