This Week in Life Sciences 2018–05–29
“In autism research, animal models are employed to enhance our understanding of the altered brain mechanisms which lead to the manifestation of behavioral deficits characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Drug testing and development can then target these specific alterations, aiming to ameliorate the behavioral deficits and identify therapeutics for human use.
Animal models are also used for testing translatable biomarkers, which are measures that can be assessed comparably in both human and animal subjects. These biomarkers serve as tools to examine the efficacy of potential therapeutics in animal models, predict their effect in human subjects and inform clinical trials. A recent study in Molecular Autismidentified dysfunction in the protein metabolism of children in ASD and a selection of disorder biomarkers with potential use in clinical diagnosis.”
“Once there was a mutant worm in an experiment. It lived for 46 days. This was much longer than the oldest normal worm, which lived just 22.
Researchers identified the mutated gene that had lengthened the worm’s life, which led to a breakthrough in the study of ageing — it seemed to be controlled by metabolic processes. Later, as researchers studied these processes, all signs seemed to point to the nucleolus.
Under a microscope, it is hard to miss. Take just about any cell, find the nucleus, then look inside it for a dark, little blob. That’s the nucleolus. If the cell were an eyeball, you’d be looking at its pupil.
You’ve got one in every nucleus of every cell in your body, too. All animals do. So do plants, and yeast — and anything with a cell with a nucleus. And they’ve become much more important in our understanding of how cells work.”
“Irvine, Calif., May 24, 2018 — A new interdisciplinary research and education center at the University of California, Irvine will apply the power of mathematics to some of the more vexing mysteries in cell biology.
The MathBioSys Center on Multiscale Cell Fate is being initiated with $10 million in funding, half from the National Science Foundation and half from the Simons Foundation. It will support research at the interface of mathematics and biology with implications for regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, birth defects and aging.
“Recent work has demonstrated that cells are much more diverse and with many more unknown fates than previously recognized,” said center director Qing Nie, Chancellor’s Professor of mathematics and developmental & cell biology at UCI. “It has become increasingly clear that we need mathematical approaches to help us fully understand the complex interactions occurring inside and outside of these building blocks of life.”
Faculty members and students from five UCI schools will focus on three biological themes: cellular complexity and plasticity in skin; dynamics and migration of neural crest cells (embryonic cells which develop into bone, muscle and other tissues in the head); and control of stem cell specification through techniques to influence their behavior without changing their underlying genetic makeup.”
“Exchange of material and information at the level of individual cells requires transport and signaling at the level of the plasma membrane enclosing the cell. Studying mechanisms at such tiny dimensions presents researchers with enormous challenges. Recently, researchers wanted to determine the function and distribution of cholesterol, an important component of the membrane. So far, cholesterol can only be labeled to a very limited extent with fluorescent dyes, which can be visualized under the microscope without damaging the membrane. Researchers at the University of Münster (Germany) have now developed a method to circumvent these difficulties. They synthesized a new compound with properties similar to those of cholesterol, but which can be labeled with dyes and visualized in living cells. There, the compound realistically mimics the behaviour of natural cholesterol.
“Our new approach offers enormous potential for imaging membrane dynamics in living cells,” says Prof. Volker Gerke, one of the leaders of the study. The work is the result of an interdisciplinary study involving organic chemists, biochemists and biophysicists. The study appears in the current issue of the journal Cell Chemical Biology.
Cells in the body are enclosed in a kind of protective envelope, the plasma membrane, which separates the cell from its environment. Cells also contain internal membranes separating the individual components from each other and regulate the movement of substances between the different internal spaces. Cholesterol, a fatlike substance, is an important component of membranes ensuring that they work properly.”
(Updated September 28, 2016)
Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com, email@example.com, Scott@Karmik.Ca, or SJacobsen@AlmasJiwaniFoundation.Org.
He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Chair of Social Media for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice Magazine, Your Political Party of BC, ProBC, Marijuana Party of Canada, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Harvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.
He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.
He published in American Enterprise Institute, Annaborgia, Conatus News, Earth Skin & Eden, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Gordon Neighbourhood House, Huffington Post, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, Jolly Dragons, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology Department, La Petite Mort, Learning Analytics Research Group, Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab, Lost in Samara, Marijuana Party of Canada, MomMandy, Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society, Piece of Mind, Production Mode, Synapse, TeenFinancial, The Peak, The Ubyssey, The Voice Magazine, Transformative Dialogues, Treasure Box Kids, Trusted Clothes.