Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Cell Biology

Journal Club: Neurons fire in sync, helping elucidate the biological basis of learning

Our brains change as we learn. But how exactly does a cluster of neurons change their activity or connections? It seems the phenomenon is due, at least in part, to neurons starting to fire in sync, according to a recent … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly discovered ion channel gene promises disease insights

The molecular identity and precise function of a commonly expressed cell-membrane chloride channel has long been a mystery. A recent study in Science uncovers the gene responsible for the channel, potentially shedding light on its role in the body. Researchers … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Understanding how a plant makes a hook could someday improve crops

This spring, as the first shoots of new plants emerge from the soil, many are bent over in a hook. This simple act protects the fragile stem tip and leaves as the sprout pokes up through the dirt. But how … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Tumors create an acidic environment that helps them invade surrounding tissues

Cancer cells tend to turn their extracellular environment acidic, thus helping these rogue cells thrive while creating a hostile environment for normal ones. Acidosis promotes tumor growth, metastasis and drug resistance, while helping tumor cells evade the immune system. But … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Plants load extracellular vesicles with a new class of RNAs

A recent study in The Plant Cell found that plants release extracellular vesicles carrying a new class of RNA molecules, named “tiny RNAs.” The findings are among the first to reveal the contents of these vesicles, and may hint at … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Amoeba have long-distance preference for certain bacteria, pointing to other cell-sensing insights

How does the microscopic amoeba track down prey in the vastness of the forest floor? Ample research on the soil amoeba Dicytostelium discoideum, affectionately called “Dicty” by researchers, has provided some clues. But the mechanisms behind long-distance sensing of bacterial … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Ion channel puts the squeeze on blood vessels, affecting blood pressure

Blood pressure is exquisitely regulated to respond to our physiological state. Stress raises blood pressure. Simply stand up, and the arteries constrict to maintain pressure. New findings in mice show how a protein called PKD2 helps regulate blood pressure by … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Key protein family helps govern sense of touch in both plants and animals

Compared to their knowledge of other senses, scientists know relatively little about how cells sense touch. A newly confirmed family of mechanosensors, comprising more than a dozen members and present in both plants and animals, is an important step toward … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Researchers catch the mouse brain in the act of learning something new

Neurobiologists have captured, for the first time, the moment in a mouse’s brain when it first learns something new: in this case, that a beep signals a delicious droplet of sugar water. The results, recently reported in Nature Neuroscience, support a famous … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Simple model reproduces patterns of toxic protein buildup across multiple neurodegenerative diseases

Fatal neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) begin as tiny pockets of misfolded proteins that evade the body’s normal detritus-removal systems. They spread throughout the brain and clog neural pathways. But exactly how these proteins propagate … Continue reading

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