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Kill Switches for Engineered Microbes Gone Rogue

Past efforts at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering led by Core Faculty members Pamela Silver and James Collins have created "kill switches" in bacteria that cause them to commit suicide in laboratory conditions when they are not wanted anymore. "We needed to take our previous work further and

In the Fight Against Viral Infection, Spelling Counts

Now, scientists have found that a key similarity between our genes and those of many viruses -- a way of spelling out the genetic code -- has likely allowed viruses to evade our cellular defenses. Paul Bieniasz, a Rockefeller professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator who led the work,

First Draft cell Atlas of the Small Intestine

This census, published in Nature, comprises a first-draft atlas of the small intestine's cellular composition, providing a reference for studying the biology of a host of conditions affecting or involving the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancers of the small intestine, celiac disease, and food allergies. The study also enhances

Dysfunction of intricate astrocyte cells may underlie autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy

New research from Duke University finds that astrocytes are much more than neurons' entourage. Their unique architecture is also extremely important for regulating the development and function of synapses in the brain. When they don't work right, astrocyte dysfunction may underlie neuronal problems observed in devastating diseases like autism, schizophrenia and

Driving Drug Resistance out of Fungi

Microbiologists are facing tremendous difficulties in their quest to fight C. albicans' drug resistance and biofilm formation. Each C. albicans microbe is a "diploid" organism, as it usually contains two copies of its entire genome and of all the genes encoded within. However, to understand the role that a specific gene plays, researchers

Scientists Develop New Theory of Molecular Evolution

"Molecules are the basis of all life and we wanted to find out why molecules evolve the way they do," said study co-author David Pollock, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the CU School of Medicine. Pollock and fellow author Richard Goldstein, Ph.D., professor of infection and immunity at

Cells Induce Inflammation Upon Detection of Cytoplasmic DNA

The presence of free DNA in the cytoplasm activates two distinct defense measures. The first is an antiviral immune response, mediated by induction of the synthesis and secretion of immunostimulatory messenger molecules called interferons. The second is a classical inflammatory reaction, which elicits symptoms such as fever, and localized swelling

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