A new understanding of the structure and properties of a protein responsible for regulating iron as it binds its target RNA has yielded some surprises.
The study is the first to show that partial copies of DNA called mRNA (or messenger RNA) morph into specific, three-dimensional shapes when combined with a protein regulator called IRP1. This discovery is important to researchers who design medications based on the specific characteristics of a disease.
Iron is an essential nutrient, and defects in uptake and metabolism that result in either deficiencies or overload of iron cause a variety of diseases and disorders, including heart disease, arthritis and cancer. Understanding iron regulation is important to the future design of therapeutic targets for these conditions.
“Currently, medications such as some anti-cancer drugs are based on DNA structures," said Elizabeth Thiel, co-author of the study and an adjunct professor of nutritional sciences and toxicology. "Unfortunately, the problem with targeting DNA is that healthy and cancerous cells have the same DNA. However, they have different mRNAs." Consequently, these findings could help scientists design medications that target just the disease cells, based on their mRNA.
Continue reading "Solved: Structure of Iron Regulatory Protein-RNA Complex" »
A new study led by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology identifies specific gene expression changes in a species of water flea in response to contaminants, lending new support for the role of toxicogenomics in environmental monitoring.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, focused on the water flea Daphnia magna, considered the lab rat of ecotoxicology because of its sensitivity to contaminants in its environment. The organism is commonly used by regulators to monitor freshwater toxicity, but the tests used typically look at levels of toxicity that will kill the water flea within 24 hours of exposure.
Continue reading "New study shows promise of genomics in monitoring environmental toxicology" »
A tiny mite is threatening America's vast crop of fruit and vegetables. Three-quarters of all flowering plants rely on pollinators like bees in order to bear fruit. Bottom line: no bees, no produce!
Continue reading "Video: Pest Affecting Honeybees, Food Supply" »
In the storerooms of a Venice, Italy, museum, a University of California, Berkeley, scholar and Italian experts are at work on a rare collection, but the objects aren't Renaissance paintings or the art of ancient glassblowers. Instead, the team is collecting samples from the largest and best preserved collection of fungi in Italy to create an unprecedented DNA database.
Matteo Garbelotto of UC Berkeley prepares a fungal sample from the Venice Museum of Natural History to send to his lab for sequencing and analysis.
On Monday, Dean Paul Ludden announced that he has accepted an offer to become Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern Methodist University, beginning in the summer of 2007.
Ludden’s departure will follow the Spring ’07 semester, at the close of his 5-year term as dean.
Continue reading "Dean Ludden to Step Down Next Summer" »
The perception that fruits and vegetables are too expensive helps explain why Fresno County farmworkers eat too few of these foods, according to Christy Getz
, a UC Berkeley specialist who focuses on natural resource-dependent workers and communities.
Continue reading "Farmworkers: Can't afford the food they grow?" »
What if genes could jump from organism to organism in passing, like a contagious disease? Microbiologist Damon Lisch of the Freeling Lab has shown that totally different species of plants have exchanged DNA...
Reductions of human-generated air pollution could create unexpected agricultural benefits in one of the world's poorest regions, according to new research by Maximilian Auffhammer
, assistant professor of agricultural resources and economics, and his collaborators.
Continue reading "Reducing pollution could increase rice harvests in India" »
Matthew Stuckey, fourth year in Environmental Economics and Policy and Conservation Resource Studies, is researching how the butterfly Colias behrii colonized the Sierra Nevada.
Through mentorship with Professor George Roderick and graduate student Sean Schoville, Stuckey has been working on cloning nuclear genes to assess genetic variation within and among populations of C. behrii.
Roderick’s team is using genetics to understand how organisms have colonized new areas. SPUR funds have helped provide chemicals and lab supplies necessary for molecular cloning – a technique essential for Stukey’s research.
The SPUR program also benefits the mentors who work closely with undergraduates on their research. For Schoville, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, having Stuckey's help has been a huge benefit. “These undergraduates are some of the brightest students,” he says. “Working with them gives me a great opportunity to see their minds grow and mature.”
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