Science and Medicine

Protein Jailbreak Prolongs Breast Cancer

The findings may help develop better therapies and prognostics for the disease.

Researchers have traced the molecular interactions that allow a protein to escape the nucleus of a breast cancer cell and extend its life.

The findings may help develop better therapies and prognostics for the disease, researchers say.

If the fight against breast cancer were a criminal investigation, then the proteins surviving, HDAC6, CBP, and CRM1 would be among the chief suspects. A new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry reveals the key moment for keeping cancer cells alive is the survivin’s jailbreak from the nucleus, aided and abetted by the other proteins.

The study highlights that a protein’s location in a cell affects its impact on disease and offers clear new leads for the investigation.

All four proteins were already under suspicion. Scientists, for example, have already tried to assess what levels of HDAC6 in patients with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer may mean for their prognosis, but the results have been inconclusive.

Read more: Protein Jailbreak Prolongs Breast Cancer

 

Can Our Genes Be Making Us Fat?

While researchers recognize that the cause of obesity is multifaceted, they continue to examine the role of these genotypes in weight management.

While high-fat foods are thought to be of universal appeal, there is actually a lot of variation in the extent to which people like and consume fat. A new study in the March issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, reported that two specific genes (TAS2R38-a bitter taste receptor and CD36-a possible fat receptor), may play a role in some people’s ability to taste and enjoy dietary fat. By understanding the role of these two genes, food scientists may be able to help people who have trouble controlling how much fat they eat.

Most food scientists acknowledge the texture of fat plays a big role in how fat is perceived in the mouth. For example, ice cream is typically “rich, smooth and creamy.” And certain fats, scientists have determined, can be detected by smell. Only recently have food scientists explored that most fats have a taste too. Researchers are now investigating the gene (CD360) that is responsible for detecting the taste of fats (fatty acids) in the mouth.

In the recent Journal of Food Science study, investigators focused on one ethnic group to limit genetic variation that could reduce the ability to detect associations with the gene of interest. They determined the fat preferences and CD36 status of more than 300 African-American adults. The investigators from the New York Obesity Research Center identified a genetic variant present in 21 percent of the African-Americans that was associated with higher preferences for added fats and oils (e.g. salad dressings, cooking oils, etc). They also found study participants with this genetic variance ranked Italian salad dressings creamier than those who have other genotypes.

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Butterflies Decline After Early Snowmelt

“Research of this nature is critical to assessing the broader effects of weather on an ever-changing Eart

The number of Mormon fritillary butterflies in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is on the decline due to earlier spring weather, according to researchers.

The region’s early snowmelt is driving down the population of the butterflies by reducing their favored nectar supply and killing off caterpillars that die during early-season frosts.

Stanford University researchers found that early snowmelt for two consecutive years explained more than four-fifths of the observed variation in population growth rate, according to a study recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.

“We already can predict that this coming summer will be difficult for the butterflies, because the very low snowpack in the mountains this winter makes it likely that there will an early snowmelt and significant frost damage,” said biology professor Carol Boggs, lead author of the study.

Boggs says the blow to the butterfly population can be explained by looking at the insect’s lifecycle and the factors determining egg production.

Read more: Butterflies Decline After Early Snowmelt

   

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