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When the going gets tough, stress response genes can make do with less

La Jolla, CA – Reading the DNA recipes of the 25,000 or so genes within a human cell, a process called transcription, is a highly scripted endeavor. Like the main character in a movie, an enzyme called RNA Polymerase plays the lead role and is supported by an ever-changing cast of supporting transcription factors that come and go as the script demands.


A novel function for a protein designed to curtail tumor growth

La Jolla, CA – Mutations in a protein, called APC, that normally functions to suppress the development of tumors, cause 85 percent of all colon cancers, the number two cancer killer in the US. For years, scientists thought they knew how: The normal APC protein destroys a protein called Β-catenin, which turns on genes responsible for cell growth. The mutant APC proteins that are commonly found in colon cancer and melanoma, are not able to destroy Β-catenin, leading to unchecked cell growth.


Genetically modified mice are resistant to obesity despite a high fat diet

La Jolla, CA – Ravenous mice that chomp down as if there were no tomorrow yet stay lean and mean? Shutting down two genes that modulate a body's energy balance transformed these animals into fidgeting, highly efficient fat burning machines, report scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in this week's issue of Cell Metabolism.


We live in the past and our brain makes up for it

La Jolla, CA – For the first time, scientists have caught a glimpse of the brain as it predicted the future location of a fast moving object in real time.


Ohio civic volunteer Caryl Philips and former publisher and Santa Barbara resident Michael Pulitzer join Salk Institute?s Board of Trustees

La Jolla, CA – Caryl D. Philips, a longtime supporter of graduate student training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., and Michael Pulitzer, former chairman of a newspaper empire, recently were elected to the Institute's Board of Trustees.


Salk Institute's new faculty scientist conducts basic research on molecular pathways at intersection of diabetes and cancer

La Jolla, CA – A research scientist who recently discovered a critical message-relaying pathway that underlies the development of both cancer and type 2 diabetes, in January joined the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as an assistant professor in the institute's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and Dulbecco Laboratory for Cancer Research.


Human embryonic stem cells integrate successfully into mouse brain

La Jolla, CA – Previous studies have shown that undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) can survive in the brains of laboratory rats with Parkinson's disease. But until now it was unclear whether hESCs can become fully functional members of the host animal's neuronal architecture – a basic necessity if stem cells are ever to be used in medical treatments replenishing missing or damaged neurons in human patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease.


Normal chromosome ends elicit a limited DNA damage response

La Jolla, CA – Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discovered that cells co-opted the machinery that usually repairs broken strands of DNA to protect the integrity of chromosomes. This finding solves for the first time an important question that has long puzzled scientists.


3-D structure of Alzheimer's disease filament shows how it zips up peptides

La Jolla, CA – Researchers have solved the three dimensional structure of the long thread-like fibers that fill the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. The structure reveals the proteins that make up the fibrils lock onto each other much like a zipper on a jacket. This advance, reported in the Nov. 14th early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), helps illuminate the molecular roots of Alzheimer's and possibly other degenerative diseases of the brain.


Unexpected function for a key regulator of blood glucose levels

La Jolla, CA – An unexpected twist to a discovery reported just two months ago may significantly improve our understanding about the molecular origins of diabetes.


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