Posts Categorized: Research News

A genetic polymorphism associated with lung cancer progression

A genetic polymorphism associated with lung cancer progression

Genetic polymorphisms associated with cancer progression lead to variations in gene expression and may serve as prognostic markers for lung cancer. Researchers at the Hiroshima University and Saitama Medical University found that in patients with lung cancer, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) may regulate gene and protein expression and be associated with poor prognosis. To establish this genetic polymorphism as a useful clinical prognostic marker and to further clarify its molecular mechanism, large-scale clinicopathological studies of lung cancer and/or other types of cancer are required for additional insights. Hypoxia-inducible factor-2 alpha (HIF-2 alpha or EPAS1) is important for cancer progression, and its overexpression is considered a putative biomarker for poor… Read more

A study of antidepressants reveals how treatment helps depression management

A study of antidepressants reveals how treatment helps depression management

  Researchers in Japan have shown that several different classes of antidepressants increase early growth responses in astrocytes, star-shaped glial cells, which could help develop new treatments. Amitriptyline is a prototypical antidepressant that is currently used worldwide. Generally, effects of antidepressants such as amitriptyline in depressive patients become evident after treatment for a few weeks. However, no study has investigated the reasons why effects are not immediately evident. Previous studies have shown that amitriptyline increases the mRNA expression of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in rat astrocytes, not neurons, slowly over 24 hours. However, the cellular mechanism that leads to the expression of FGF2 following amitriptyline treatment remains unclear. In… Read more

Potential of disk-shaped small structures, coccoliths

Potential of disk-shaped small structures, coccoliths

To promote efficient bioenergy production Researchers at Hiroshima University and the University of Tsukuba showed that coccolith disks made of calcium carbonate in Emiliania huxleyi, one of the promising biomass resources, potentially perform roles in reducing and enhancing the light that enters the cell by light scattering. Elucidation of the physiological significance of coccolith formation in E. huxleyi can help promote efficient bioenergy production using microalgae. The energy issue is one of the most important problems on earth. Recently, many types of renewable energy resources such as solar light, wind, water, and biomass have attracted attention for their use as alternatives for fossil fuels. Coccoliths are disk-shaped plates of calcium carbonate formed by… Read more

Draw out of the predicted interatomic force

Draw out of the predicted interatomic force

  Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. Liquid Bi shows a peculiar dispersion of the acoustic mode, which is related to the Peierls distortion in the crystalline state. These results will provide valuable inspiration to researchers developing new materials in the nanotechnology field. Studies of the atomic dynamics in liquid Bi have been revisited more recently. The previous inelastic neutron scattering (INS) results for liquid Bi showed inconsistency for the inelastic excitation of the acoustic mode. These results were also different from the ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) prediction that indicated that the peculiar atomic dynamics arose from an anisotropic interatomic force… Read more

How do harmful chronic myelogenous leukemia stem cells obtain their nutrients?

How do harmful chronic myelogenous leukemia stem cells obtain their nutrients?

Applicability of a new strategy to overcome disease recurrence in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia     A research group in Japan and in Korea has found a novel nutrient uptake process that maintains the activity of murine chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) stem cells. Pharmacological inhibition of nutrient uptake decreased CML stem cell activity in vivo. Based on a report published on August 20, 2015 in Nature Communications, it has been established that certain nutrients support CML stem cell activity in vivo, thus pointing towards a potential therapeutic target for CML therapy. CML stem cells, the cellular source of a vast majority of CML cells, are reportedly responsible for the recurrence… Read more

Protein machines make fluctuating flows unconsciously

Protein machines make fluctuating flows unconsciously

An international research group has demonstrated that protein machines, regardless of their specific functions, can collectively induce fluctuating hydrodynamic flows and substantially enhance the diffusive motions of particles in the cell. Biological cells contain large numbers of active proteins that repeatedly change their conformations. These protein machines have a variety of specific functions, acting as motors, ion pumps, or enzymes, and they need a supply of ATP or other substrates to maintain their cyclic operation. Professor Alexander S. Mikhailov (Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, and Research Center for the Mathematics on Chromatin Live Dynamics [RcMcD] at Hiroshima University) and Professor Raymond Kapral (Department… Read more

Novel scissor-like bridge structure for use during emergencies

Novel scissor-like bridge structure for use during emergencies

  A test of the Mobile Bridge® Version 4.0 (MB4.0) over a real river demonstrated its viability for practical use. During the test, the bridge was set up without any foundation work, and a vehicle could easily travel across it. This was achieved safely with very few people and without any problems. The MB4.0 viability test results were presented at a symposium of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) on June 23, 2015, by Dr. Ichiro Ario, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Engineering, Hiroshima University. Background of developing MB: Natural disasters include earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and landslides. They can occur anywhere in the world. The damage caused by… Read more

New molecular mechanism of neuropathic pain in mice

New molecular mechanism of neuropathic pain in mice

  The downregulation of spinal astrocyte connexin43 (Cx43) expression causes sustained neuropathic pain following peripheral nerve injury. The inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) mediates the downregulation of Cx43 expression, which leads to decreased expression of the glutamate transporter GLT-1 and enhanced glutamatergic neurotransmission. Targeting the recovery of Cx43 function using pharmacological approaches or gene therapy might serve as novel therapeutic strategies ameliorate neurological disorders in general and neuropathic pain in particular. Spinal cord astrocytes are critical in the maintenance of neuropathic pain. Cx43 expressed on spinal dorsal horn astrocytes modulates synaptic neurotransmission, but its role in nociceptive transduction has yet to be fully elaborated. Several types of Cx have… Read more

New understanding of genetic susceptibility to infections by Candida and Mycobacterium

New understanding of genetic susceptibility to infections by Candida and Mycobacterium

  The discovery of bi-allelic mutations in RORC in patients with candidiasis and mycobacteriosis revealed the pivotal role of RORC in mucocutaneous immunity to Candida and in systemic immunity to Mycobacterium in humans. Inborn errors of human IL-17 immunity underlie chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC), which is characterized by chronic or recurrent infections of the skin, nails, and oral and genital mucosae by Candida albicans, and inborn errors of human IFN-γ immunity underlie Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD), a rare congenital disorder characterized by susceptibility to infections by poorly virulent intracellular pathogens such as non-tuberculosis Mycobacterium. Five genetic etiologies of CMC and eighteen genetic etiologies of MSMD have been reported so far. Only a few patients… Read more

Ultra-thin, all-inorganic molecular nanowires successfully compounded

Ultra-thin, all-inorganic molecular nanowires successfully compounded

  Nanowires are wired-shaped materials with diameters that are tens of nanometers or less. There are many types of nanowires, including semiconducting composite nanowires, metal oxide composite nanowires, and organic polymer nanowires, and they are typically used in functional materials and devices used as sensors, transistors, semiconductors, photonics devices, and solar cells. Molecular wires composed of only inorganic materials have attracted significant attention due to their stable structures, tunable chemical compositions, and tunable properties. However, there have only been a few reports regarding the development of all-inorganic molecular nanowires. Dr. Zhenxin Zhang and Prof. Wataru Ueda at the Catalysis Research Center at Hokkaido University (Prof. Ueda is currently working for… Read more