Bacterial DNA is consistently organised the same way in all the cells

Working together with colleagues in Spain, Japan and Australia, researchers led by Luis Serrano, ICREA research professor and leader of the Design of Biological Systems laboratory at the CRG, focused their attention on the organisation of DNA within an organism … Continue reading Bacterial DNA is consistently organised the same way in all the cells

Cells have an alternative plan when energy is needed in the cell nucleus

All our cells require the small molecule; ATP, generated in the mitochondria to cover the energy required for cell metabolism, dynamics and growth. To a lower extent and particularly in cancer cells, ATP can also be generated in the cytoplasm from the energy gained during degradation of glucose. These sources of ATP are sufficient to cover the energetic needs of cells in normal conditions. However, in response to stress-inducing external signals or to extensive DNA damage, the cells need to globally reprogram their gene expression pattern, a process that requires extensive remodelling of chromatin to gain access to the regulatory … Continue reading Cells have an alternative plan when energy is needed in the cell nucleus

A roadmap for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015

In November 2013, a scientific multidisciplinary consensus meeting was held at the Home of FIFA in Switzerland to talk about Anti-Doping in Sport and to create a roadmap for the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. Jordi Segura, director of the Antidoping Laboratory at the IMIM, took part at the meeting and was one of the authors of a recent article explaining the strategy for the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. According to the paper, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), the key components of this strategy include: (1) sport-specific risk assessment, (2) prevalence measurement, (3) sport-specific test … Continue reading A roadmap for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015

Understanding resistance to methadone treatment for opioid dependence

Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is the most widely-used therapy in opioid dependence, but it is not effective in some patients, who relapse or drop out from treatment. Researchers at the IMIM and Hospital del Mar led by Marta Torrens, in collaboration with colleagues at the CRG, have found a possible explanation of why some people may not respond well to this treatment. As the authors explain in their paper published this month in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, they carried out a genetic analysis on several patients, focusing on the gene ALDH5A1. This enzyme is involved in the catabolism of the … Continue reading Understanding resistance to methadone treatment for opioid dependence

Common causes of complex diseases between Europeans and Asians

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revolutionized the field of complex disease genetics in the last six years. Many disease associations (i.e. genetic variants that increase risk for a specific disease) have been detected using this technique, but the reported variants tend to explain only small fractions of risk. Also, the causal variants that generate the associations unveiled by GWAS have not been identified. And their frequency and degree of sharing across different ethnical populations remains unknown. Arcadi Navarro, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), set out to study the degree of sharing of disease-associated variants across populations, in order … Continue reading Common causes of complex diseases between Europeans and Asians

Female sex control: a third way

Females have an extra X chromosome as compared to males, and this can mean trouble – think of what happens when someone has an extra copy of any other chromosome, 21 being the most (in)famous! Dosage compensation is therefore essential, and there’s different ways of dealing with it. In humans, women inactivate one of their X chromosomes, while in the fruifly the opposite happens: males overactivate their only copy of X. The complex in charge of doing so is called MSL and male-specific-lethal-2 (msl2) is one of its subunits. Female flies must inhibit this gene in order to survive, and … Continue reading Female sex control: a third way

DNA isolation method may affect methylation results

Researchers from the neurovascular research group at the IMIM have recently published a paper showing that, when studying DNA methylation, the protocol used for DNA isolation can affect the results. In the paper published in the Open Access journal PLoS One, Jaume Roquer and the rest of the authors – all part of the Spanish Stroke Genetics Consortium – used three different commercial kits for DNA extraction for each sample, and then quantified the global DNA methylation (GDM) by a luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). In the 580 samples analysed, they found significant differences in GDM in the same samples between the three … Continue reading DNA isolation method may affect methylation results

Assessing a new test for cervical cancer

Continuing with the issue of cervical cancer (you can read a previous post about virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccines against this type of cancer), which is caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV), a group of researchers from the Pathology department of the Hospital del Mar (Parc de Salut MAR Biobanc), a reference laboratory for cervical cytology in Barcelona, have recently evaluated the clinical performance of a new HPV test (the cobas HPV Test). Although the most widespread screening technique for cervical cancer is cytology (also called Papanicolaou test, or Pap smear), HPV detection has been proposed as an alternative, since it is more sensitive for the detection … Continue reading Assessing a new test for cervical cancer

Therapeutic virus-like particle- based vaccines against cervical cancer

Cervical cancer represents the second most frequent gynecological malignancy in the world. It is caused by a persistent virus infection by the high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) but no cervical cancer vaccine has been marketed to date. In a paper published in PLoS, Juan Martin Caballero, director of the PRBB animal facility, together with colleagues from a pharmaceutical company have generated a virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine to treat this cancer and have tested it in humanized transgenic mice. The researchers took a long C-terminal fragment of the HPV-16 E7 protein – one of the two viral proteins necessary for induction and maintenance of malignant transformation – … Continue reading Therapeutic virus-like particle- based vaccines against cervical cancer