Posts Categorized: Research News

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

The new detection method for a key drug resistant hepatitis C virus mutation

The new detection method for a key drug resistant hepatitis C virus mutation

A rapid, sensitive, and accurate method to detect drug resistant hepatitis C virus (HCV) mutants has been developed. Researchers at Hiroshima University established a system to rapidly and accurately measure the presence of HCV Y93H drug resistant mutant strains, and evaluate the proportion of patients harboring this mutation prior to treatment. Even in serum samples with low HCV titers, Y93H drug resistant mutation could be successfully detected in more than half of the samples. This new system for detecting mutant strains may provide important pre-treatment information valuable not only for treatment decisions but also for prediction of disease progression in HCV genotype 1b patients. HCV is a major cause of… Read more

A fuse of cardiovascular diseases

A fuse of cardiovascular diseases

  A promising biomarker for the severity of age-related white matter changes (ARWMCs) and endothelial function was evaluated at Hiroshima University, Japan. The relationship between this biomarker, the telomeric 3′-overhang (G-tail) length, and cardiovascular risk in humans is unclear so far. The researchers at Hiroshima University investigated the association between the telomere G-tail length of leukocytes and vascular risk, ARWMCs, and endothelial function. They suggested that the telomere G-tail might be a useful marker of endothelial dysfunction, as well as stroke and dementia. Telomeres are the structures that cap each end of a chromatid, at the extreme end of the chromosomal DNA. Telomeres are composed of double-stranded DNA with terminal… Read more

Simultaneous live imaging of a specific gene’s transcription and dynamics

Simultaneous live imaging of a specific gene’s transcription and dynamics

The Real-time Observation of Localization and EXpression (ROLEX) system   Dr. Hiroshi Ochiai and his colleagues, Dr. Takeshi Sugawara (Research Center for the Mathematics on Chromatin Live Dynamics [RcMcD] at Hiroshima University) and Professor Takashi Yamamoto (Graduate School of Science at Hiroshima University), have established a novel live-imaging method termed the “Real-time Observation of Localization and EXpression (ROLEX)” system. This system enables simultaneous measurements of the transcriptional activity and nuclear position of endogenous genes using MS2 transcription imaging and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) gene-imaging techniques.   Dr. Ochiai stated, “By using only existing techniques, such as the chromatin conformation capture (3C)-related method and fluorescence in situ hybridization… Read more

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Next-generation illumination using silicon quantum dot-based white-blue LED

  A Si quantum dot (QD)-based hybrid inorganic/organic light-emitting diode (LED) that exhibits white-blue electroluminescence has been fabricated by Professor Ken-ichi SAITOW (Natural Science Center for Basic Research and Development, Hiroshima University), Graduate student Yunzi XIN (Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University), and their collaborators. A hybrid LED is expected to be a next-generation illumination device for producing flexible lighting and display, and this is achieved for the Si QD-based white-blue LED. For details, refer to “White-blue electroluminescence from a Si quantum dot hybrid light-emitting diode,” in Applied Physics Letters; DOI: 10.1063/1.4921415. The Si QD hybrid LED was developed using a simple method; almost all processes were solution-based and conducted at… Read more

Noncoding RNA CCDC26 regulates KIT expression

Noncoding RNA CCDC26 regulates KIT expression

  A long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), which might give an impact on tyrosine kinase-targeted leukemia therapy, was found to be expressed in a leukemia cell line. The function of the lncRNA CCDC26 is not fully understood; however, researchers at Hiroshima University revealed the mechanisms by which CCDC26 controls the receptor tyrosine kinase KIT expression. The results provide new insights into leukemia recurrence and may help to develop new leukemia therapies. Recent transcriptomic studies have revealed the existence of numerous RNAs that are relatively long but not translated into proteins. Some of such lncRNAs are suggested to regulate the expression of other genes. Mutations or imbalances in the noncoding RNA repertoire… Read more

How many organisms do live in this aquatic habitat?

How many organisms do live in this aquatic habitat?

Environmental DNA survey surrounding you     The aim of this new measurement method is to estimate the distribution of aquatic animals using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) in order to quantify the number of target DNA copies present. This method focuses on quantification accuracy for low environmental DNA (eDNA) concentrations, because the eDNA recovered for target species from field samples typically occur in very low concentrations. This technique can be applied for habitat research on rare or non-native species in the field. Evaluations of species distribution and biomass are fundamental in studies on the population dynamics and community structure of an ecosystem. Recently, the eDNA method was developed… Read more

How is the membrane protein folded?

How is the membrane protein folded?

From molecular biology toward new medical care A key factor in the biosynthesis and stable expression of multi-pass transmembrane proteins was discovered, and its loss is thought to cause retinal degeneration. The factor works especially for multi-pass membrane proteins, in the integration of polypeptides into the membrane and/or protein folding. Understanding the mechanisms underlying protein folding and trafficking may contribute to the large-scale, therapy-based production of target proteins. In 2013, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Randy W. Schekman, James E. Rothman, and Thomas C. Südhof for their discovery of how cells deliver thousands of membrane proteins to the right place at the right time. It… Read more

New assistive equipment to maximize human sensorimotor function

New assistive equipment to maximize human sensorimotor function

  A prototype for wearable equipment to support human motion has been developed at Hiroshima University, Japan. This wearable equipment, called the Sensorimotor Enhancing Suit (SEnS), enhances sensorimotor functions by reducing the muscle load of the upper limbs. SEnS is inexpensive because it is made of flexible fabrics using regular cloth and does not include any electronic devices. SEnS assists human sensorimotor functions and improves the quality of life of not only elderly individuals but also healthy people who work under extreme conditions. These results were published as proceedings of the 5th Augmented Human International Conference entitled “Unloading muscle activation enhances force perception” DOI: 10.1145/2582051.2582055. Recent advances in assistive technologies… Read more