Category Archives: Insight on Research

Insights into how KAP1 silences viral origin DNA in our genomes

Our genome contains DNA from ancestral retroviral infections. These stretches of DNA are not usually harmful unless the cell’s normal ability to regulate them is lost, then their expression can potentially lead to disease. Yorgo Modis’ group, in the University of Cambridge Molecular Immunity Unit at the LMB,

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Functionalized graphene sheets on gold grids aid structure determination by electron cryo-microscopy

With the ‘resolution revolution’ of recent years, it should in principle be possible to determine atomic resolution structures of any proteins using electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM). However, in practice, preparation of frozen samples that are suitable for high resolution imaging is a barrier to progress.

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Decoding how detection of odours leads to diverse behaviours in flies

We, and all animals, sense things in our surroundings and react to them, but how a sensory input reaching the brain is transformed into behaviour is still unknown for all but the most simple reflexes. To better understand this, Greg Jefferis’ group in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division in collaboration with researchers at the Janelia Research Campus have performed the first deep and comprehensive functional analysis into the innate odour processing pathway of a behaviourally complex animal,

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A novel mode of RNA recognition based on structure not sequence

Our genetic code is translated from DNA into proteins through an intermediate molecule: messenger RNA (mRNA). One major way in which synthesis of proteins can be regulated is through turnover of mRNA; less protein is produced from a short-lived mRNA molecule.

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Creating an entire bacterial genome with a compressed genetic code

Jason Chin’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division have, for the first time, synthesised the entire genome of a commonly used model organism, the bacterium E. coli. There has only been one previous example of synthesis of an entire genome: for the Mycoplasma bacterial genome,

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How tighter ligand binding in drug target cell-surface receptors is achieved

Much of the communication in cells is dependent on the presence of cell-surface receptors that detect signals in the form of messenger molecules called ligands. One large family of receptors are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This family includes a number of important drug targets,

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How eating feeds into the body clock

We are regularly reminded that a balanced diet is key to staying healthy and preventing disease. What is less well known is that the time at which we eat may also be an essential to long-term health.
Central to this are circadian rhythms –

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Uncharged DNA-like molecules can store genetic information and function like antibodies

DNA and RNA both have a highly negatively charged backbone and it was widely believed that such a charged structure is essential for their function as information storage molecules. Philipp Holliger’s group, in the LMB’s PNAC Division, in collaboration with researchers at NIH in the USA and at IRB in Barcelona,

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Snapshot of a pre-catalytic spliceosome reveals how the exon-intron junction is introduced into the active site

The process of reading the genetic code of DNA to produce proteins involves an intermediate molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA). Initially mRNA contains sequences that won’t form part of the new protein, termed introns, as well as protein-coding sequences known as exons.

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Prebiotic chemistry shows how DNA building blocks might have arisen at the origin of life

Life is based around a complex system of information storage in DNA and conversion of that information into the RNA and proteins that perform the functions to allow our cells and us to survive. Understanding the origin of life requires identification of plausible mechanisms by which the chemical building blocks of this system might have arisen on early Earth.

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