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Grenoble, 21 December 2016 How flu steals your RNA New work by the Cusack group at EMBL published this week in Nature explains how the influenza virus’ transcription machine interacts with its counterpart in the host cell, offering new possibilities for anti-viral drug design. “We’ve uncovered the details of a mechanism that’s common to all influenza strains, so we believe this could be a good target for developing new flu drugs,” says Stephen Cusack.
Monterotondo, 13 December 2016 Study offers approach to treating pain For many patients with chronic pain, any light touch – even just their clothes touching their skin – can be agony. The Heppenstall lab at EMBL and colleagues have found a possible new avenue for producing painkillers that specifically treat this kind of pain. In a study published online today in eLife, they discovered how the stiffness of our nerve cells influences sensitivity to touch and pain.
Grenoble, 23 November 2016 Toxoplasma’s balancing act explained The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a silent success. It infects up to 95% of people in many regions of the world, and most of them never know it, due to the parasite’s artful manipulation of its host’s immune response. Toxoplasma keeps the immune response low enough so that it can thrive, but high enough so that its human hosts generally live healthy lives and can incubate parasites. Matthew Bowler and colleagues at EMBL and the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB, an INSERM - CNRS - Université Grenoble-Alpes research centre) have uncovered one of the ways it maintains this balance, in a paper published today in Structure.
Heidelberg, 3 November 2016 Picture Release | Spiral growth This flower-like image shows a plant that is not developing quite right. It comes from a study in which scientists at EMBL and the University of Sydney unearthed the molecular feedback loop that creates the spiral pattern of leaves around a stem. The work is published today in Current Biology.
Heidelberg, 3 October 2016 In pursuit of flat growth in leaves How does a set of plant cells grow from a bump into a flat leaf that can efficiently capture sunlight? In a paper published this week in PNAS, EMBL scientists show how different types of molecules on the top and bottom of a leaf keep each other in check, ensuring the leaf grows flat.
Hamburg, 4 August 2016 Every atom counts Cancer cells are more dependent on a cellular garbage disposal unit – the proteasome – than healthy cells, and cancer therapies take advantage of this dependency. The Schneider group at EMBL Hamburg and colleagues at MPI Göttingen have now succeeded in determining the 3D structure of the human proteasome in unprecedented detail and have deciphered the exact mechanism by which inhibitor drugs block the proteasome. Their surprising results, published in Science, will pave the way to develop more effective treatments.
Heidelberg, 3 August 2016 The force is strong with embryo cells For a cell in an embryo, the secret to becoming part of the baby’s body instead of the placenta is to contract more and carry on dancing, scientists in the Hiiragi and Nédélec labs at EMBL have found. The study, published today in Nature, could one day have implications for assisted reproduction.
Heidelberg, 14 July 2016 How new HIV drugs lock virus in immaturity A new type of HIV drug currently being tested works in an unusual way, scientists in the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit, a collaboration between EMBL and Heidelberg University Hospital, have found. They also discovered that when the virus became resistant to early versions of these drugs, it did not do so by blocking or preventing their effects, but rather by circumventing them. The study, published online today in Science, presents the most detailed view yet of part of the immature form of HIV.
Heidelberg, 24 June 2016 Impact on EMBL of UK referendum to leave EU Yesterday, the United Kingdom (UK) electorate voted to leave the European Union (EU). The UK’s decision to leave the EU has no direct consequences for the UK’s membership of EMBL. There will be no immediate impact on EMBL as a whole or on EMBL-EBI in particular.
Heidelberg, 28 April 2016 Poo transplants better understood For the first time, scientists studying stool transplants have been able to track which strains of bacteria from a donor take hold in a patient’s gut after a transplant. The team, led by EMBL with collaborators at Wageningen University and the Academic Medical Centre, both in the Netherlands, and the University of Helsinki, Finland found that compatibility between donor and patient likely plays a bigger role in these transplants than previously thought. The study, published today in Science, could help make stool transplants a valid treatment option for more conditions than they are currently applied to.
Heidelberg, 14 April 2016 EMBL scientists reveal structure of nuclear pore’s inner ring It was a 3D puzzle with over 1000 pieces, with only a rather fuzzy outline as a guide. But scientists in the Beck group at EMBL have now put enough pieces in place to see the big picture. In a study published today in Science, they present their latest findings, bringing the nuclear pore complex into focus.
Heidelberg, 30 March 2016 Designing gene therapy Scientists at EMBL have increased the efficiency of a gene-editing tool called Sleeping Beauty, which is showing promise in clinical trials for leukaemia and lymphoma immunotherapies. They made the improvement by determining the 3-dimensional structure of the molecule’s active domain, and using that information to design better versions of this tool. Published today in Nature Communications, the study is likely to lead to further enhancements, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes.
Heidelberg, 21 March 2016 Mothers and daughters EMBL scientists have observed how an egg cell gets rid of its centrioles – structures that play a crucial role in cell division – to ensure the proper development of the embryo. The study, published today in Journal of Cell Biology, is the first time the whole process has been seen in its entirety, in real time.
Monterotondo, 18 March 2016 Forgetting to learn They say that once you’ve learned to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. But new research suggests that while learning, the brain is actively trying to forget. The study, by the Gross group at EMBL and colleagues at the University Pablo Olavide in Sevilla, Spain, is published today in Nature Communications.
Heidelberg, 16 February 2016 Picture Release | Forever young This ‘before and after’ image could be thought of as stem cells’ equivalent of an advert for anti-wrinkle cream: ‘look how cells stay young!’ It shows that a molecule called microRNA-142 allows stem cells to remain unchanged, instead of growing into specialised cell types. Given the right conditions, stem cells with low levels of microRNA-142 (green, left) grow into neurons (pink, right). But stem cells with high levels of the molecule (red, left) remain unchanged (blue, right), scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have found.
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