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

Horses with spots and giraffes with stripes

Shigeru Kondo (Institute of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Japan) gave one of the last talks at the “Computational approaches to networks, cells and tissues” meeting that took place this week  at the PRBB Auditorium. Co-organised by James Sharpe (CRG) and Hernán López-Schier (HZM), the meeting was supported by QuanTissue, a collaborative European network to bridge the gap between the traditional developmental cell biology, biophysics and systems biology. And so it did! Most of the nearly 200 participants were physicysts or mathematicians, as one could tell from their presentations and posters full of complicated mathematical formulae. But the subjects they studied … Continue reading Horses with spots and giraffes with stripes

Pedro Carvalho (CRG) explains the role of ER in protein control and lipid homeostasis

Pedro Carvalho, from the CRG tries to understand how the cell uses its quality control mechanisms to get rid of proteins that are not functional. He also studies lipid homeostasis. Both functions take place at the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER). Check … Continue reading Pedro Carvalho (CRG) explains the role of ER in protein control and lipid homeostasis

How stress dictates cell expression

Stress causes a general down-regulation of gene expression in cells, together with the induction of a set of stress-responsive genes. How do cells know which specific genes to activate when they are silencing most of the others? The (yeast) answer is called Hog1, as shown in a recent paper published in Genome Biology by the Cell Signalling research group at the UPF. The authors, led by Francesc Posas, used yeast as a model organism to study the response to osmostress, and they focused on Hog1, a stress-activated protein kinase which is related to p38. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq) they did … Continue reading How stress dictates cell expression

“Healthy criticism is essential for change and success”

An interview published in Ellipse, the monthly magazine of the PRBB. Vivek Malhotra was born in India 50 years ago and received his formal education in England. After graduating from Oxford, he went to the US as a postdoc at Stanford. He was a professor at the University of California in San Diego where he has spent most of his life. Married to a Basque biologist, in 2008 he came to the PRBB where he coordinates the Cell and Developmental Biology programme of the CRG. What differences are there between here and the US?  Americans are goal oriented and very driven. They want to … Continue reading “Healthy criticism is essential for change and success”

Anniversary CRG Symposium: from genomics to cell biology

Next October 18 and 19, the CRG will be celebrating its annual Symposium. This year it is especially relevant, since this research centre is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. The symposium will focus on the latest and most important advances in genomics but also in genetics, molecular and cell biology, or biotechnology. Several scientists in the international arena, such as Angus LAMOND (Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, Dundee, UK), Tom MANIATIS (Columbia University, New York, US), or Iain MATTAJ (EMBL Heidelberg, Germany) will showcase the achievements of the CRG in the last 10 years in these fields. You … Continue reading Anniversary CRG Symposium: from genomics to cell biology

“Our translational research makes us compulsive collaborators”

The Molecular physiology and channelopaties research group from the CEXS-UPF is formed by several PhD students, postdocs, a technician and a couple of principal researchers with teaching duties. Miguel Angel Valverde leads the group since 1999, when he came to Barcelona from King’s College in London. The aim of the group is two-fold. On the one hand, they try to understand how the ionic channels are activated, how they sense the physical or chemical signals that tell them to open or close. The second goal is to understand what happens when these channels don’t work correctly. Ca2+ and its role … Continue reading “Our translational research makes us compulsive collaborators”

Postdoc position on cell and molecular biology at the CRG

A postdoctoral position is available in the group of Pedro Carvalho at the CRG. The Organelle biogenesis and homeostasis lab studies the molecular mechanisms by which misfolded secretory and membrane proteins are detected and eliminated from cells. The succesful candidate will work on protein quality control. Application deadline is February, 29, 2012. Starting date would be no later than May 2012. Details: Postdoc position Continue reading Postdoc position on cell and molecular biology at the CRG

A new factor in non-centrosomal microtubule assembly

Chromosome segregation requires the formation of K-fibres, microtubule bundles that attach sister kinetochores to spindle poles. Most K-fibre microtubules originate around the chromosomes through a non-centrosomal RanGTP-dependent pathway and become oriented with the plus ends attached to the kinetochore and the minus ends focused at the spindle poles. The capture and stabilization of microtubule plus ends at the kinetochore has been extensively studied but very little is known on how their minus-end dynamics are controlled. Here Isabelle Verno’s lab at the CRG shows that MCRS1 is a RanGTP-regulated factor essential for non-centrosomal microtubule assembly. MCRS1 localizes to the minus ends of chromosomal microtubules and K-fibres, where it protects them from depolymerization. … Continue reading A new factor in non-centrosomal microtubule assembly