Posts Tagged: cellular biology

Space-like gravity weakens muscle development

Space-like gravity weakens muscle development

Microgravity conditions affect DNA methylation of muscle cells, slowing their differentiation   Astronauts go through many physiological changes during their time in spaceflight, including lower muscle mass and slower muscle development. Similar symptoms can occur in the muscles of people on Earth’s surface, too. In fact, it could affect everyone to some extent later in life. “Age-related skeletal muscle disorders, such as sarcopenia, are becoming a greater concern in society,” said Hiroshima University (HU) Professor and Space Bio-Laboratories Director Louis Yuge. “It is especially a big concern in Japan, where the number of aging people is increasing.” In a study published in Microgravity, a medical research group at HU led by Yuge shed light… Read more

Transcription factor helps tumors grow in low oxygen, resist anticancer therapies

Transcription factor helps tumors grow in low oxygen, resist anticancer therapies

  An international team of researchers found how cancer cells respond to DNA damage signaling when in low oxygen, or hypoxia. Through comprehensive gene expression analyses, the team determined how one family of genes controls DNA damage response, as well as how it weakens the effectiveness of anticancer therapies. Our bodies have strict molecular mechanisms that help us respond to hypoxia. These mechanisms are not just limited to helping us adapt to higher altitudes when climbing up a mountain. They also arise in diseases such as anemia, diabetes, or cancers. In the case of a new study led by Keiji Tanimoto’s team at Hiroshima University (HU), hypoxia indicates developments or… Read more

Highly safe biocontainment strategy hopes to encourage greater use of GMOs

Highly safe biocontainment strategy hopes to encourage greater use of GMOs

Hiroshima University researchers believe their simple phosphite-based control method will convince legislators to get with the times Use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – microorganisms not found in the natural world but developed in labs for their beneficial characteristics – is a contentious issue. For while GMOs could greatly improve society in numerous ways – e.g. attacking diseased cells, digesting pollution, or increasing food production – their use is heavily restricted by decades-old legislation, for fear of what might happen should they escape into the environment. For researchers, aware of their potential, it is important to develop safety strategies to convince legislators they are safe for release. For this reason… Read more

Kazunori Imaizumi, biochemistry

Kazunori Imaizumi, biochemistry

A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Kazunori Imaizumi A Common Cause Inside the cells of animals and plants is a folded, flattened tube of membranes piled on top of themselves. Studded along portions of the inside of this tube are ribosomes, small organelles that turn messages from DNA into protein. The proteins and occasionally important fats, or lipids, travel through the tube, folded and finalized into their completed form as they go. The tube itself is the Endoplasmic Reticulum, referred to as “the ER” by scientists. If something goes awry within the ER, proteins and lipids can get backed-up, clogging the tube and causing cellular stress. Both the potential causes and… Read more

Active deformations of cell nuclei contribute to intra-nuclear architecture formations

Active deformations of cell nuclei contribute to intra-nuclear architecture formations

There are two types of chromatin, euchromatin and heterochromatin, that vary with the stages of the cell cycle. In particular, euchromatin with rich active genes localizes to the interior of the nucleus during interphase; heterochromatin usually localizes to the periphery of the nucleus. Akinori Awazu, an Associate Professor at the Research Center for Mathematics on Chromatin Live Dynamics (RcMcD) has investigated the contributions of active deformation dynamics of cell nuclei to the intra-nuclear positioning of euchromatin and heterochromatin using the Brownian motion theory. Professor Awazu analyzed the behaviors of model chains containing two types of regions (representing euchromatin and heterochromatin); one with high and the other with low mobility. These… 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

International conference on the 4-dimensional organization of the nucleus

International conference on the 4-dimensional organization of the nucleus

‘The 4-D Nucleome 2014’ will be held in Hiroshima, Japan In 1944, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger published a book entitled “What Is Life?” in Ireland. Seventy years later, you might get a hint of the answer by exploring the world of “4D Nucleome” in Japan. The latest advances in understanding the principles behind the three-dimensional organization of the cell nucleus in space and time (the 4th dimension) will be presented at an international conference, “The 4D Nucleome 2014,” in Hiroshima, Japan, from December 17 to 20, 2014. The conference will be hosted by the Research Center for the Mathematics on Chromatin Live Dynamics (RCMCD) of Hiroshima University. The conference… Read more

Establishment of induced pluripotent stem cells from Werner syndrome fibroblasts

Establishment of induced pluripotent stem cells from Werner syndrome fibroblasts

Milestone for understanding diseases and for the development of new therapies Associate Professor Akira Shimamoto and Professor Hidetoshi Tahara at the Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Science in Hiroshima University, Professor Koutaro Yokote at the Graduate School of Medicine in Chiba University, Visiting Professor Makoto Goto at the Medical Center East in Tokyo Women’s Medical University, and collaborators including the staff at the Cancer Chemotherapy Center in the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tottori University, and Keio University established induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from the fibroblasts of Werner Syndrome patients. These results were published in PLOS ONE in an article entitled “Reprogramming Suppresses Premature Senescence Phenotypes of Werner Syndrome Cells… Read more