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NIGMS News Releases

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January 2009
Repeats Lead to DNA Fragility, Neurological Disorders
January 11, 2009 • Tufts University

NIGMS-funded researchers have found that repeating CGG sequences in DNA, which are associated with inherited neurological disorders, stall DNA replication.

Scientists Develop RNA That Replicates Itself Indefinitely
January 9, 2009 • Scripps Research Institute

NIGMS-supported scientists have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can indefinitely replicate themselves without the help of proteins or other cellular components.

Researchers Find New Way Protein Can Function
January 9, 2009 • Dartmouth College

A group of NIGMS-supported researchers has found a new function for one of the proteins involved with chromosome segregation during cell division.

Scientists Unravel Structure of Breast Cancer Target Enzyme
January 7, 2009 • Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute

NIGMS-supported researchers have revealed the molecular structure of aromatase, the enzyme targeted by Tamoxifen and other, related drugs.

Researchers Catch Evolution in the Act
January 6, 2009 • Washington University in St. Louis

A team of NIGMS-supported biologists has discovered that two RNA polymerases found only in plants are specialized forms of an enzyme common to all eukaryotic organisms.

December 2008
Pulling Protein's Tail Curtails Cancer
December 30, 2008 • Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

NIGMS-funded researchers discovered that removing the tail of a tumor suppressor called PTEN activated the protein, which is often inactive in cancer cells.

New Technique Reveals Protein Folding, Interaction
December 23, 2008 • Scripps Research Institute

NIGMS-supported researchers have developed a computational method that predicts how bacterial proteins fold and interact.

E. coli Engineered to Produce Important Drugs
December 22, 2008 • University of California, Los Angeles

NIGMS-funded researchers have successfully used E. coli to synthesize natural products known as bacterial aromatic polyketides.

Method Detects Movement in Ion Channels
December 18, 2008 • University of Montreal

A study supported in part by NIGMS developed a way to detect movement within ion channels, which are major drug targets.

Blocking the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance
December 18, 2008 • Northwestern University

NIGMS-funded researchers discovered that a special DNA sequence in certain bacteria can impede the spread of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus.

New Way Ubiquitin Affects Transcription Machinery
December 17, 2008 • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

NIGMS-funded researchers are deepening their grasp of how adding ubiquitin tags affects transcription.

A Little Squeeze Is Enough For Proteins to Assess DNA
December 16, 2008 • University of Arizona

An NIGMS-funded study shows that DNA-binding proteins don't need to give full-body hugs to accurately read DNA sequence.

Nerve and Cancer Cells Share Survival Mechanism
December 15, 2008 • University of North Carolina School of Medicine

NIGMS-funded biologists have discovered that nerve cells and cancer cells share common methods to prevent cell death.

Watching Cell's Pinch in Two
December 11, 2008 • Scripps Research Institute

Using a technique that allowed them to watch cells divide in real time, NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered details about how cell membranes allow fission.

Number of Motors Doesn't Regulate Organelle Transport
December 11, 2008 • University of Rochester

NIGMS-funded biologists have found that the mechanisms that control molecular motors are different from what biologists have previously believed.

How Translocations Occur at Inception of Lymphoma
December 11, 2008 • University of Southern California

NIGMS-funded researchers have charted biochemical steps leading to chromosomal translocations, mutations that occur frequently in blood cancers.

Three-Dimensional View of Core Replication Machinery
December 9, 2008 • Vanderbilt University

NIGMS-funded researchers have obtained a detailed structure for the core of the replisome, molecular machinery assembled to copy DNA.

Protein Contributes to Cancer Spread
December 8, 2008 • Albert Einstein College of Medicine

NIGMS-funded researchers have identified a protein, called Menainv, that may be responsible for breast cancer metastasis.

How a Virus Infects Bacteria
December 8, 2008 • Penn State

A study supported by NIGMS reveals how some viruses infect E. coli bacteria.

Alternative Splicing and Heart Development
December 8, 2008 • Baylor College of Medicine

NIGMS-funded researchers are exploring how dynamic shifts in proteins prompt alternative splicing in the developing heart.

New Histone Demethylase Protein Complex
December 5, 2008 • Stowers Institute for Medical Research

NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered a new protein complex that chemically modifies histones, whose interactions with DNA help regulate gene expression.

New Insights on Cell Division
December 4, 2008 • University of Oregon

NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered a mechanism critical to the pinching of cells in two when they divide.

Clues About Large-Scale Gene Silencing
December 4, 2008 • Washington University in St. Louis

NIGMS-funded researchers are closer to understanding nucleolar dominance, the phenomenon whereby an entire set of ribosomal RNA genes from one parent is silenced.

Study Proves that Tainted Heparin Caused Reactions
December 3, 2008 • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An NIGMS-funded study provides epidemiological evidence confirming that a contaminant in batches of heparin caused severe allergic reactions.

Heparin Contaminant Conclusively Linked to Severe Adverse Reactions
December 3, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

About a year ago, hundreds of people were sickened and dozens died after receiving the blood thinner heparin. Now, scientists have conclusively proven that a specific contaminant in the medicine was to blame. 

The Genes Behind Gray Mold's Killer Arsenal
December 1, 2008 • Brown University

NIGMS-funded researchers have identified the genetic sequence behind how gray mold kills plants, including many agricultural staples.

November 2008
Cell Movements Found to Be Modular
November 30, 2008 • Stanford University Medical Center

NIGMS-supported researchers have shown that distinct groups of proteins each control one of four simple activities involved in the collective migration of cells. 

Scientists Uncover New RNA Processing Mechanism
November 26, 2008 • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

New NIGMS-supported research sheds light on possible functions of abundant 'noncoding' RNA molecules.

Scientists Discover New Mode of Epigenetic Inheritance
November 26, 2008 • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

A team of NIGMS-supported scientists has discovered that a class of small RNAs carries epigenetic information and passes on the trait of fertility from mother to offspring in fruit flies.

Researchers Identify a Potentially Universal Mechanism of Aging
November 26, 2008 • Harvard Medical School

NIGMS-supported researchers have discovered that DNA damage decreases a cell's ability to regulate gene activities, which may represent a universal culprit for aging.

New Insight Into Adaptive Ability of Cells
November 26, 2008 • Stowers Institute for Medical Research

A new NIGMS-supported study sheds light on how cells adapt to disruptions in cell division—findings that may help explain how cancer cells elude the body's defenses.

Tiny Protein Provokes Bonding Between Cells
November 25, 2008 • Johns Hopkins University

Alpha-catenin allows cells to recognize neighboring cells as ‘friends’, leading to strong bonds that are hard to break, according to a new NIGMS-supported study.

Scientists Shed Light on How DNA Is Unwound
November 24, 2008 • The Scripps Research Institute

NIGMS-supported researchers have figured out how a molecular machine unwinds DNA tangles so that the genetic information can be read and used.

Internal Clocks Help Hybrid Plants Grow Bigger
November 24, 2008 • University of Texas, Austin

Hybrid plants grow bigger than their parents because many of their metabolism genes are more active during the day, report NIGMS-researchers.

Cancer Cell ‘Bodyguard’ Turned Into Killer
November 24, 2008 • Oregon State University

NIGMS-supported researchers have developed a peptide that converts the Bcl-2 protein from a cancer cell's friend to a foe.

Scientists Present New Insights on Bacterial Decision-Making
November 21, 2008 • North Carolina State University

NIGMS-supported biochemists have answered a fundamental question about how a key class of bacterial proteins binds DNA and controls a variety of functions.

Cells Change Shape to Fit the Situation
November 21, 2008 • University of Pennsylvania

As cells bend, they reorganize their internal scaffolding, and as they reorganize the scaffolding, the cells further adjust their shape, according to a new NIGMS-supported study.

Blood Component Turns Bacteria Virulent
November 20, 2008 • The Scripps Research Institute

NIGMS-supported scientists have discovered the key chemical that signals Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, to become lethal.

New Insights on Regulation of Key Enzyme
November 19, 2008 • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

A study supported in part by NIGMS is providing new insights on the regulation of calpains, enzymes involved in diseases ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer's.

New Clue to Stopping Breast Cancer Spread
November 17, 2008 • University of North Carolina School of Medicine

A team of NIGMS-supported scientists has reduced the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate by knocking down levels of a protein called palladin.

Breaking Enzyme Mimics Genetic Shuffle Seen in Cancer
November 17, 2008 • Fox Chase Cancer Center

A study of how the enzyme, BubR1, helps distribute chromosomes evenly during cell division might explain how the process goes awry in cancer, according to NIGMS-supported researchers.

Researchers Detail New Class of Catalysts
November 16, 2008 • Boston College

A new class of exceptionally effective catalysts that promote the powerful olefin metathesis reaction has been discovered by a team of NIGMS-supported scientists. 

Genetic Switch Helps Cilia Beat Path to Asymmetry
November 16, 2008 • Salk Institute

A new NIGMS-supported study reveals how a genetic switch known as FoxJ1 helps developing embryos tell their left from their right.

New Gene Silencing Pathway Found in Plants
November 14, 2008 • Washington University

NIGMS-supported biologists have made headway in explaining a mechanism by which plant cells silence potentially harmful genes.

Gene Mobilizes Yeast Cells to Cooperate Against Threats
November 13, 2008 • Harvard University

A single gene drives yeast cells to cooperate in protecting themselves from stress, antibiotics, and other dangers, according to a new NIGMS-supported study.

Without Enzyme Cellular Process Takes 2.3 Billion Years
November 11, 2008 • University of North Carolina School of Medicine

The biosynthesis of hemoglobin and chlorophyll would take 2.3 billion years—half the earth’s age—without a key cellular enzyme.

Researchers Tackle Deadly Infections
November 11, 2008 • University of Michigan Health System

A team of NIGMS-supported researchers have combined medicine, math and engineering to reveal how sepsis occurs and how to prevent it.

Global Alliance for Pharmacogenomics Expands
November 10, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

U.S. and Japanese scientists expand their pharmacogenomics collaboration with five new projects.

Human Genes Sing Different Tunes
November 2, 2008 • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NIGMS-supported researchers have shown that a phenomenon known as alternative splicing varies more between tissues than was previously believed.

Bacterial Clustering Triggers Blood Clotting
November 2, 2008 • University of Chicago

Blood clots, which sometimes form during severe bacterial infections, arise in response to bacterial clustering, according to an NIGMS-supported study.

October 2008
Genetic Clockmakers Craft Bacterial Timepiece
October 29, 2008 • University of California, San Diego

NIGMS-supported bioengineers have created the first stable, fast and programmable genetic clock that reliably keeps time by the blinking of fluorescent proteins inside E. coli cells.

Protein Compass Guides Amoebas Toward Their Prey
October 23, 2008 • University of California, San Diego

Amoebas glide toward their prey with the help of a protein switch that controls a molecular compass, according to a new NIGMS-supported study.

Mapping a Clan of Mobile Selfish Genes
October 22, 2008 • Emory University

Alu retrotransposons are by far the most abundant class of jumping genes in our genome, according to a new NIGMS-supported study.

Antibiotic Sets Up Road Block to Kill Bacteria
October 22, 2008 • Ohio State University

NIGMS-supported scientists have moved toward developing more effective antibacterials by pinpointing how a specific antibiotic blocks bacterial growth.

New $11 Million Center to Speed Production of New Compounds for Drug Discovery
October 20, 2008 • University of Chicago

With support from NIGMS, scientists from three Chicago-area universities have joined forces to develop new ways of building chemical libraries that will help identify compounds for drug development and basic biomedical research. 

Switch Triggers Cancer-Like Response in Stem Cells
October 17, 2008 • Forsyth Institute

NIGMS-funded researchers have shown that electrical signals are a powerful control mechanism for modulating embryonic stem cell behavior.

Engineers Build First-Ever Multi-Input Synthetic RNA Device
October 17, 2008 • California Institute of Technology

NIGMS-supported engineers have created a synthetic RNA device that is capable of taking in and responding to more than one signal at a time.

Findings May Lead to Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics
October 16, 2008 • Rutgers University

NIGMS-funded scientists have shown how three antibiotics block the action of RNA polymerase, paving the way for more potent antibiotics.

Computer Model Reveals Cells' Inner Workings
October 16, 2008 • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NIGMS-funded researchers are using a computational model to study how cells process chemical information, which could improve the efficacy of drug treatments.

Molecular Origins of Proportional Development
October 13, 2008 • Cincinnati Children's Hospital

NIGMS-funded developmental biologists have traced basic, molecular information on how different-sized animals develop bodies that are in proportion.

How DNA Replication Works As Stem Cells Differentiate
October 13, 2008 • Florida State University

NIGMS-funded researchers have tracked how DNA copying gets reorganized as embryonic stem cells become specialized.

Studying Sperm Proteins to Understand Infertility
October 10, 2008 • San Francisco State University

NIGMS-funded researchers are showing how proteomics can be used to identify which proteins in sperm are dysfunctional in certain cases of infertility.

New Data Resource to Advance Computer-Aided Drug Design
October 9, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

The University of Michigan will lead an NIGMS-supported effort to expand and enhance the molecular data needed to develop computer programs that more accurately predict potential drug candidates.

NIGMS Grantees Recognized with Nobel Prize in Chemistry
October 8, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Three NIGMS grantees are honored with a Nobel Prize in chemistry for their groundbreaking work on green fluorescent protein.

Genome of Malaria Species Decoded
October 8, 2008 • New York University School of Medicine

A parasitologist funded by NIGMS headed a team of researchers that has decoded the genome of the parasite that causes 40 percent of malaria infections.

Structure of Important Neurological Receptor
October 6, 2008 • Scripps Research Institute

NIGMS-funded biologists have solved the structure of an adenosine receptor that could lead to drugs for neurological disorders.

Bioengineers Fill Holes in Science of Cellular Self-Organization
October 6, 2008 • University of California, San Diego

NIGMS-funded bioengineers are developing models for how cell populations order themselves.

Technique for Solving Protein Structures May Lead to Better Antibiotics
October 1, 2008 • University of Virginia

Using NMR to solve the structure of an integral membrane protein, NIGMS-funded researchers have paved the way to creating better antibiotics.

Short RNAs Show a Long History
October 1, 2008 • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered that microRNAs, which help regulate genes, have been around since the earliest of animal lineages.

NIGMS Pledges Over $48 Million to Create Chemical Techniques and Libraries
October 1, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

NIGMS pledges over $48 million over 5 years to support five Centers of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development (CMLD).

Cell Death and the Ends of Chromosomes
October 1, 2008 • University of Utah

NIGMS-funded biologists have shown that losing just one telomere can lead to many abnormalities in a cell's chromosomes.

September 2008
Molecular Gymnastics in Gene Regulation
September 29, 2008 • Brandeis University

An NIGMS-funded study shows how a protein bends DNA into tight loops to regulate gene expression.

Technique Can Control Protein Activity
September 28, 2008 • Stanford University Medical Center

NIGMS-funded researchers have developed a way to pair proteins with a drug that prevents proteins from being degraded.

Technique Could Make Malaria Treatment Less Costly
September 26, 2008 • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NIGMS-funded researchers have developed a way to mass-produce an antimalarial compound. Related molecules have antibiotic properties.

Model Suggests How Cholesterol Interacts With Important Proteins
September 26, 2008 • University of Pennsylvania

NIGMS-funded researchers have clarified how cholesterol interacts with neurotransmitter receptors involved in inflammation and a range of diseases.

Innovative Imaging Technique Reveals Molecular Details
September 25, 2008 • Georgia Institute of Technology

NIGMS-funded researchers are developing new tools based on mass spectrometry to visualize things like tissue slices or organisms in biofilms.

A New Gateway to Protein Structures
September 23, 2008 • Rutgers University

A new window onto the world of protein structure has been opened with the launch of the NIGMS-funded PSI-Nature Structural Genomics Knowledgebase.

Trawling Through Fish DNA Yields Insight for Mammals
September 19, 2008 • Johns Hopkins Medicine

A study supported in part by NIGMS has discovered master controllers of a gene critical to mammalian development.

The Networks That Regulate Alternative RNA Splicing
September 19, 2008 • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

NIGMS-funded researchers have traced the biochemical processes that enable alternative proteins to be made from some of the same genes.

Genetic Links Between Nervous and Immune Systems
September 19, 2008 • Duke University Medical Center

NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered evidence of cross talk between the nervous system and the immune system in roundworms.

Programmed Cell Death Contributes Force to Cell
September 18, 2008 • Duke University

NIGMS-funded biophysicists have discovered that apoptosis can exert substantial mechanical force on surrounding cells.

How Cells Accessorize Their Proteins
September 18, 2008 • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Researchers supported in part by NIGMS have determined how an enzyme that stitches important molecular adjustments onto proteins regulates its own function.

Newly Discovered Genes Regulate Stem Cell Function
September 17, 2008 • Forsyth Institute

NIGMS-funded researchers have discovered genes in planaria flatworms that are also used in mammalian stem cell regulatory pathways.

Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed To Produce Insulin
September 17, 2008 • University of North Carolina

NIGMS-funded researchers transformed human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells and then to cells that can make the hormone insulin.

Honeybee Venom Leads to New Tool for Studying Hypertension
September 16, 2008 • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

NIGMS-funded researchers have modified a honeybee venom toxin to use it as a tool to study ion channels that control heart rate and salt recycling.

Blood Pressure Drug Combination Reduces Heart Attack Deaths
September 16, 2008 • Vanderbilt University Medical Center

NIGMS-funded researchers are calling into question current treatment guidelines for high blood pressure with a study about the benefits of combining drugs.

NIGMS Grantees Honored With Top U.S. Science Prize for Discovering Tiny, Regulatory RNAs
September 15, 2008 • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Two long-time NIGMS grantees, Victor R. Ambros, Ph.D., and Gary B. Ruvkun, Ph.D., have received the 2008 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.

Circadian Clock Genes Control Plant Growth
September 15, 2008 • University of California, San Diego

Biologists funded by NIGMS have identified genes that permit plants to grow in spurts at night.

This page last updated January 7, 2009