Genomic study on renal cell carcinoma reveals potential opportunities for more effective treatments
Cancer / Genome

Genomic study on renal cell carcinoma reveals potential opportunities for more effective treatments

By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D. It is well understood that renal cell carcinoma is not a single disease. Patients with this type of cancer have different characteristics which may be explained by changes in the way different genes are expressed. These differences in gene expression may lead to specific derailed metabolic pathways which may result … Continue reading

Evolution meets biochemistry to better understand how dopamine receptors work
Biochemistry / Genetics

Evolution meets biochemistry to better understand how dopamine receptors work

By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D. When proteins fail at doing their job, disease usually follows. To perform their job, proteins need to maintain a particular structure and specific motions, and how proteins achieve that is still not completely understood. In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Baylor College of … Continue reading

Understanding obesity from the inside out: new lab method reveals roles of GABA in the control of appetite and metabolism
Genetics / molecular biology

Understanding obesity from the inside out: new lab method reveals roles of GABA in the control of appetite and metabolism

By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D. The average American is more than 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. Around the world, obesity has more than doubled in the last 40 years. Obesity is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer and it is a problem of high- and low-income … Continue reading

Discovery of CTLA-4 in dendritic cells opens new possibilities to fight cancer
Cancer / immunology

Discovery of CTLA-4 in dendritic cells opens new possibilities to fight cancer

By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D. In the battle against cancer, T cells are the ‘foot soldiers’ and dendritic cells are ‘the generals.’ Cancer cells are not passive players in these encounters, they can fight the foot soldiers back by pushing a brake on the T cells that will turn them off. This ‘brake’ is a … Continue reading

One atom can make a difference: Hydrogen-bonding pairing helps design better drugs to neutralize gut bacterial infections
Biochemistry / Infectious diseases

One atom can make a difference: Hydrogen-bonding pairing helps design better drugs to neutralize gut bacterial infections

IP6, the natural inhibitor or ligand of Clostridium difficile’s toxin, binds weakly to the toxin. This results in the toxin remaining active (center figure). Changing a single atom in IP6 to form IP6(S) results in stronger binding to the toxin and its inactivation (left side figure). Credit: T. Savidge, Baylor College of Medicine; K. Prince, … Continue reading

Social amoeba cast wide, lethal DNA nets to kill invading bacteria
Biochemistry / Microbiology

Social amoeba cast wide, lethal DNA nets to kill invading bacteria

By Ruth SoRelle, M.P.H. The amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum  begins as a soil-dwelling single cell organism. When stressed, many individual cells coalesce to form first a slug and then a fruiting body consisting of spores balanced atop a dead stalk. Scientists use it as a model organism for studying cellular signals, disease and the movement of cells … Continue reading