The science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has reported that scientists from the University of Leicester and Cardiff University have achieved a breakthrough in understanding how a 'biochemical switch', known as P2X1, which is associated with strokes and heart disease is 'turned on'. Professor Richard Evans of the University of Leicester's Department of Cell Physiology & Pharmacology, who led the research explained: "P2X1 receptors are protein molecules expressed on blood platelets which are cells involved in blood clotting. Drugs that block these receptors have the potential to reduce "dangerous" blood clotting that leads to strokes and heart attacks. Our research has looked at how the P2X1 receptor is "turned on". By biochemical studies and purifying the P2X1 receptor and using an electron microscope we have 'visualized' the receptor and detected changes in its shape when it is activated.
Although our bodies seem to be bilaterally symmetrical at a glance, the way in which our organs are stereotypically located shows they are internally typically asymmetrical, for instance, whilst the heart is located on the left hand side, the liver is on the right side. Scientists have long been interested how this inherent left-right asymmetry is established, due to its intrinsic biological importance and for medical applications. In a study published online in the March 6 issue of the open-access journal PLoS Biology, scientists have discovered that the gut endoderm plays an important role in generating information that determines whether organs develop in the stereotypical left-right pattern. Researchers have established, in a mouse model, that the principal event that breaks left-right symmetry occurs at a specialized organ, called the node, which is located in the midline of the developing embryo.
Cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a significant part of normal animal development. However, the question arises whether bacteria, similar to higher organisms, have a built-in mechanism that determines when the cells die. Researchers at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel have for the first time described a unique cell death pathway in bacteria, which is comparable to apoptosis in higher organisms. The study published in the March 6 issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology, shows that this newly described apoptotic-like death (ALD) pathway was prevented by another non-apoptotic programmed cell death (PCD) pathway that was mediated through the mazEF toxin-antitoxin system. To their surprise, leading researcher Hanna Engelberg-Kulka, and her team discovered two very different death pathways in E.
By combining bioactive peptides, researchers have successfully stimulated wound healing in an in vitro and in vivo study. The studies, published in PLoS ONE, show that the combination of two peptides stimulates growth of blood vessels and promotes tissue re-growth of tissue. Further research into these peptides could potentially lead to new therapies for chronic and acute wounds. The researchers evaluated a newly-created peptide, UN3, in pre-clinical models with the goal of simulating impaired wound healing as in patients suffering from peripheral vascular diseases or uncontrolled diabetes. They discovered that the peptide increased the development of blood vessel walls by 50%, with an 250% increase in blood vessel growth, and a 300% increase in cell migration in response to the injury.
Paternal Components In Fruit Flies And Humans May Contribute To Fertilization And Embryonic Development
It had long been assumed that the human sperm cell's mission in life ended once it had transferred its freight of parental DNA to the egg. More recently however, other components of sperm have been implicated in fertilization, and perhaps even in subsequent embryonic development. In a new study appearing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Timothy Karr, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, along with colleagues from the Universities of Cambridge and Bath, England, examine messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts present in the sperm of both fruitflies ( Drosophila melanogaster ) and humans. The new report characterizes the complement of mRNA carried by Drosophila sperm cells, representing the first description of an invertebrate spermatozoal transcriptome. A close correlation is observed between fly and human mRNAs and in both cases, transcripts were delivered to the egg during fertilization.