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Ribosome distribution affects stalling in amino-acid starved cancer cells

Deng et al. | Jan 07, 2022

Ribosome distribution affects stalling in amino-acid starved cancer cells

In this article, the authors analyzed ribosome profiling data from amino acid-starved pancreatic cancer cells to explore whether the pattern of ribosome distribution along transcripts under normal conditions can predict the degree of ribosome stalling under stress. The authors found that ribosomes in amino acid-deprived cells stalled more along elongation-limited transcripts. By contrast, they observed no relationship between read density near start and stop and disparities between mRNA sequencing reads and ribosome profiling reads. This research identifies an important relationship between read distribution and propensity for ribosomes to stall, although more work is needed to fully understand the patterns of ribosome distribution along transcripts in ribosome profiling data.

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Harvesting Atmospheric Water

Greenwald et al. | Jul 10, 2020

Harvesting Atmospheric Water

The objective of this project was to test various materials to determine which ones collect the most atmospheric water when exposed to the same environmental factors. The experiment observed the effect of weather conditions, a material’s surface area and hydrophilicity on atmospheric water collection. The initial hypothesis was that hydrophobic materials with the greatest surface area would collect the most water. The materials were placed in the same outside location each night for twelve trials. The following day, the materials were weighed to see how much water each had collected. On average, ribbed plastic collected 10.8 mL of water per trial, which was over 20% more than any other material. This result partially supported the hypothesis because although hydrophobic materials collected more water, surface area did not have a significant effect on water collection.

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Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett et al. | Sep 03, 2019

Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett and Joykutty test whether growth hormone directly or indirectly affected the rate at which cartilage renewed itself. Growth hormone could exert a direct effect on cartilage or chondrocytes by modifying the expression of different genes, whereas an indirect effect would come from growth hormone stimulating insulin-like growth factor. The results from this research support the hypothesis that growth hormone increases proliferation rate using the direct pathway. This research can be used in the medical sciences for people who suffer from joint damage and other cartilage-related diseases, since the results demonstrated conditions that lead to increased proliferation of chondrocytes. These combined results could be applied in a clinical setting with the goal of allowing patient cartilage to renew itself at a faster pace, therefore keeping those patients out of pain from these chondrocyte-related diseases.

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Comparative singlet oxygen photosensitizer efficiency of berberine, rose bengal, and methylene blue by time course nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) monitoring of a photochemical 4+2 cycloaddition endoperoxide formation

Su et al. | May 14, 2021

Comparative singlet oxygen photosensitizer efficiency of berberine, rose bengal, and methylene blue by time course nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) monitoring of a photochemical 4+2 cycloaddition endoperoxide formation

Berberine, a natural product alkaloid, has been shown to exert biological activity via in situ production of singlet oxygen when photo irradiated. Berberine utilizes singlet oxygen in its putative mechanism of action, wherein it forms an activated complex with DNA and photosensitizes triplet oxygen to singlet oxygen to specifically oxidize guanine residues, thereby halting cell replication and leading to cell death. This has potential application in photodynamic therapy, alongside other such compounds which also act as photosensitizers and produce singlet oxygen in situ. The quantification of singlet oxygen in various photosensitizers, including berberine, is essential for determining their photosensitizer efficiencies. We postulated that the singlet oxygen produced by photoirradiation of berberine would be superior in terms of singlet oxygen production to the aforementioned photosensitizers when irradiated with UV light, but inferior under visible light conditions, due to its strong absorbance of UV wavelengths.

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Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Gardner et al. | Feb 02, 2019

Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Cilia are little hair-like protrusions on many cells in the human body, including those lining the trachea where they play a role in clearing our respiratory tract of mucous and other irritants. Genetic mutations that impair ciliary function have serious consequences on our well-being making it important to understand how ciliary function is regulated. By using a simple organism, such as the worm C. elegans that use cilia to move, the authors explore the effect of certain genetic mutations on the cilia of the worms by measuring their ability to move towards or away from certain odorants.

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Combinatorial treatment by siNOTCH and retinoic acid decreases A172 brain cancer cell growth

Richardson et al. | Nov 14, 2022

Combinatorial treatment by siNOTCH and retinoic acid decreases A172 brain cancer cell growth

Treatments inhibiting Notch signaling pathways have been explored by researchers as a new approach for the treatment of glioblastoma tumors, which is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Recently, retinoic acid (RA) therapy, which inhibits Notch signaling, has shown a promising effect on inhibiting glioblastoma progression. RA, which is a metabolite of vitamin A, is very important in embryonic cellular development, which includes the regulation of multiple developmental processes, such as brain neurogenesis. However, high doses of RA treatment caused many side effects such as headaches, nausea, redness around the injection site, or allergic reactions. Therefore, we hypothesized that a combination treatment of RA and siRNA targeting NOTCH1 (siNOTCH1), the essential gene that activates Notch signaling, would effectively inhibit brain cancer cell proliferation. The aim of the study was to determine whether inhibiting NOTCH1 would inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells by cell viability assay. We found that the combination treatment of siNOTCH1 and RA in low concentration effectively decreased the NOTCH1 expression level compared to the individual treatments. However, the combination treatment condition significantly decreased the number of live brain cancer cells only at a low concentration of RA. We anticipate that this novel combination treatment can provide a solution to the side effects of chemotherapy.

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Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment

Steger et al. | Feb 21, 2023

Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment
Image credit: Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) is a birth defect where an infant’s corpus callosum, the structure linking the brain’s two hemispheres to allow interhemispheric communication, fails to develop in a typical manner during pregnancy. Existing research on the connection between ACC and epilepsy leaves significant gaps, due to the lack of focused investigation. One important gap is the degree to which ACC may impact the course of epilepsy treatment and outcomes. The present study was conducted to test the hypotheses that epilepsy is highly prevalent among individuals with ACC, and that those with both ACC and epilepsy have a lower response rate to anticonvulsant drugs than other patients treated with anticonvulsant drugs. A weighted average of epilepsy rates was calculated from a review of existing literature, which supported the hypothesis that epilepsy was more common among individuals with ACC (25.11%) than in the general population (1.2%). An empirical survey administered to 57 subjects or parents of subjects showed that rate of intractable epilepsy among study subjects with both ACC and epilepsy was substantially higher than the rate found in the general population, indicating that individuals with both conditions had a lower response rate to the anticonvulsant drugs. This study contributes novel results regarding the potential for concurrence of ACC and epilepsy to interfere with anticonvulsant drug treatment. We also discuss implications for how medical professionals may use the findings of this study to add depth to their treatment decisions.

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The role of xpa-1 and him-1 in UV protection of Caenorhabditis elegans

Tung et al. | Feb 25, 2022

The role of <em>xpa-1</em> and <em>him-1</em> in UV protection of <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em>

Caenorhabditis elegans xpa-1 and him-1 are orthologs of human XPA and human SMC1A, respectively. Mutations in the XPA are correlated with Xeroderma pigmentosum, a condition that induces hypersensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Alternatively, SMC1A mutations may lead to Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a multi-organ disorder that makes patients more sensitive to UVinduced DNA damage. Both C. elegans genes have been found to be involved in protection against UV radiation, but their combined effects have not been tested when they are both knocked down. The authors hypothesized that because these genes are involved in separate pathways, the simultaneous knockdown of both of these genes using RNA interference (RNAi) in C. elegans will cause them to become more sensitive to UV radiation than either of them knocked down individually. UV protection was measured via the percent survival of C. elegans post 365 nm and 5.4x10-19 joules of UV radiation. The double xpa-1/him-1 RNAi knockdown showed a significantly reduced percent survival after 15 and 30 minutes of UV radiation relative to wild-type and xpa-1 and him-1 single knockdowns. These measurements were consistent with their hypothesis and demonstrated that xpa-1 and him-1 genes play distinct roles in resistance against UV stress in C. elegans. This result raises the possibility that the xpa-1/him-1 double knockdown could be useful as an animal model for studying the human disease Xeroderma pigmentosum and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.

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Analyzing resilience in a sample population as a novel qualifier for triage in psychological first aid

Ramesh et al. | Apr 18, 2023

Analyzing resilience in a sample population as a novel qualifier for triage in psychological first aid
Image credit: Mat Napo

While serving as an immediate address for psychological safety and stability, psychological first aid (PFA) currently lacks the incorporation of triage. Without triage, patients cannot be prioritized in correspondence to condition severity that is often called for within emergency conditions. To disentangle the relevance of a potential triage system to PFA, the authors of this paper have developed a method to quantify resilience - a prominent predictor of the capability to recover from a disaster. With this resilience index, they have quantified resilience of differing age, race, and sex demographics to better inform the practice of PFA and potential demographic prioritization via a triage system.

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