Every day, stem cells in our bone marrow produce billions of new red blood cells. Any disruption in this process can result in serious disease. Researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Harvard Medical School have succeeded in furthering our understanding of how blood cells are formed. Their insights into the molecular foundations of this process may help break new ground in the treatment of certain types of anemia. The results of this study have been published in Cell.
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Researchers examined the shape of heterochromatin, a type of chromatin, which consists of tightly packed DNA and proteins. Wireless headphones, two yo-yos connected by a string, earmuffs: all these items could be used to describe a tiny structure inside a cell's nucleus. They have been able to define its structure thanks to new, high-contrast imaging in cryo-electron microscopy. The study has published in the journal Molecular Cell.
A new method to create synthetic neurons allows researchers to investigate how the human brain makes metabolic building blocks essential for the survival of all living organisms. A new study describes a core enzyme involved in the synthesis of these building blocks, called purines, and how the enzyme might change during infection by herpes simplex virus. An early version of the paper describing the enzyme appears online in Jan. 2018 in the Journal of Neurochemistry, and a paper describing the neuron-like cells appeared in Dec. 2017 issue of the Journal of Virology.