Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Biochemistry

Journal Club: Cellular context determines whether factor promotes or tamps down cancer

Some cellular factors have an impressive multitude of roles. One prime example is LKB1 (Liver Kinase B1). It controls both cell metabolism and cell polarity, telling cells which end is which. It also appears to act as both a tumor … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Cooler temperatures might make some mosquitoes better dengue spreaders

Migrating mosquitoes that carry diseases from the tropics to cooler climes might be better at spreading disease in their new, cooler home, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Researchers from Yale University in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New tool predicts which compounds taste bitter

Humans have 25 different taste receptors that register a range of bitter chemical compounds in everything from coffee and beer to dark chocolate and medicine. And yet, while humans can easily recognize bitterness, predicting whether a chemical compound will taste … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New roles found for protein key to neurotransmission

  Scientists know many of the proteins that make neurotransmission possible, but they don’t have a handle on how all the pieces work together.  “As someone who has studied the synapse for a long time, I still find it frustrating … Continue reading

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Journal Club: CRISPR elucidates genetic basis of social behavior in ants

Drosophila has been a workhorse of genetics for roughly a century. But as a solitary insect, it hasn’t allowed researchers to investigate the genetic basis of complex social behavior in ants and bees. Now, a pair of studies published today in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Antarctic cyanobacteria show no changes due to warming—yet

Captain Robert Scott’s Antarctic Discovery expedition took place over 100 years ago—and yet its participants recently racked up another contribution to science. Thanks to the samples of bacterial mats they collected from polar ponds—samples that were pressed, dried, and stored … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mutation helps Zika virus evolve to more easily infect mosquitoes, spread infection

Scientists discovered the Zika virus over half a century ago. But it wasn’t until recent outbreaks in French Polynesia and South America that the mosquito-borne virus, now associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and microcephaly in newborn babies, reached epidemic … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Metal-based compound shows rare specificity in early tests of its cancer-fighting capabilities

Many drugs used to fight cancer are based on metals. But such organometallic agents are generally thought to have low specificity for potential targets in cells, raising concerns that they may inflict collateral damage on healthy cells. Now scientists have … Continue reading

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Journal Club: ATP could help proteins dissolve in cells, prompting a rethink about its function and evolution

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is widely considered biology’s “energy currency”. A crucial player in cell function, it stores and releases energy for enzymatic reactions in its phosphate bonds. But cells typically hoard amounts of ATP several hundred-fold higher than that needed … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New chip allows for rapid, low-cost disease diagnosis from small DNA, RNA samples

A new point-of-care biochip enables rapid detection of nucleic acids in blood samples, paving the way for quick, cheap tests for HIV, MRSA, and numerous other diseases. Video Credit: Yeh et al. Sci. Adv. 2016;3:e1501645 Ideally, an urgent diagnosis occurs rapidly and at … Continue reading

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