Nearly half of the human genome is composed of various forms of DNA repeat. Pierre Murat in Julian Sale’s group has revealed a mechanism that safeguards the genome from pathological expansion of one group of DNA repeats known as STRs.
Proteins embedded in the cellular membrane perform a wide variety of necessary tasks. Most are folded into complex shapes that pass back and forth across the membrane. Patrick Chitwood and Manu Hegde have discovered a new type of chaperone that helps them assemble correctly.
John Briggs’ group has led two new studies of the spike (S) protein that mediates binding to the receptor ACE2 and is the dominant target of the immune system, with applications for development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.
Lipid membranes surround our cells and form the boundaries around compartments within them. Roger Williams’ group has now shown how membrane characteristics can tune the activities of protein complexes with important roles in autophagy and endosomal membrane trafficking.
Producing maps of how neurons connect with each other (connectomes) allows scientists to build and test theories of brain function. Greg Jefferis’ group have presented the first full map of olfactory, thermosensory, and hygrosensory projection neurons in the fly brain.
Use of reverse transcription for synthesis of xeno-nucleic acids is limited by low reverse transcriptase enzyme activity. Philipp Holliger’s group have developed a new directed evolution method to improve reverse transcriptase activity for any nucleic acid chemistry.