Monday, April 5, 2010

Matryoshka dolls in biology, the connection between flowers, stem cells and fat and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.

Note that I'm only taking into consideration the molbio-related blog posts aggregated under "Biology". This issue includes articles from the last two weeks, as last week no Picks were posted.

Congratulations to everyone who got their post selected.

A recent paper from The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, aiming to evaluate the role of copy number variants in genetic susceptibility to common diseases, concluded that common CNVs are “unlikely to contribute greatly to the genetic basis of common human diseases”.

Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future finds this far from surprising and instead asks:
(…) why don't common CNVs play a major role in complex disease susceptibility?

Animals are generally home to a huge number of microorganisms and some of them establish beneficial symbiotic relationships with their hosts. Lucas Brouwers at Thoughtomics brings us a fascinating Matryoshka-like story of organisms and endosymbionts, discussing first a protist that inhabits the gut of some termites and later an endosymbiont called Blochmannia, which resides in the carpenter ant.

Organisms and their endosymbionts (Image credit)

All cells (including free-living organisms), can modulate their gene expression profiles in response to changes in their surroundings. In bacteria, extracellular signals are transduced into the cell predominantly by two-component systems, but “bacteria also contain multi-component systems, for both inter- and intra-cellular signaling” (See Bacterial signaling and studying diseases through exome sequencing, in my picks of the week from RB). Interestingly, “although Two-Component Systems (TCS) are found in all three superkingdoms of life (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryotes), they are suspiciously absent from the animal kingdom”.

LabRat tries to answerwhy don't animals use TCSs?

Ian York at Mystery Rays from Outer Space, comments on a recent paper reporting something that can easily be used in a House M.D. episode in the near future.

Mitochondria are derived from bacteria and “so might bear bacterial molecular motifs”. This Nature article shows, in Ian’s words, that “mitochondrial components, released from cells after damage, trigger innate immune responses through pathways that are more traditionally associated with pathogen-specific patterns” (my emphasis).
So, after cell disruption by trauma, these components can signal through innate immune pathways and create a sepsis-like state, but without infection!

Flowers make fat and stars make bone”. This seemingly senseless phrase can be derived from a fascinating paper discussed by Rob Mitchum at Science Life, in which the authors set out to investigate if (and how) geometric shape cues can play a role in promoting the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to distinct lineages.

Geometric cues appear to have an important role in differentiation (Image credit)

Finally, in the last issue of Picks of the Week, I introduced a new category for my selections entitled “Honorable mention” (See "Dominant transposases, becoming famous for your lab mistakes and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB" for more details).

This week’s honorable mention goes to Merry Youle’s post on Small Things Considered, describing “holins”, small, phage-encoded integral membrane proteins that control the length of the infection cycle of some phages, by inducing the formation of holes in the bacterium's inner membrane after a determined period of time.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for more MolBio Research Highlights!

ResearchBlogging.orgSome of the articles discussed in this week's selected posts:

Craddock, N., Hurles, M., Cardin, N., Pearson, R., Plagnol, V., Robson, S., Vukcevic, D., Barnes, C., Conrad, D., Giannoulatou, E., Holmes, C., Marchini, J., Stirrups, K., Tobin, M., Wain, L., Yau, C., Aerts, J., Ahmad, T., Daniel Andrews, T., Arbury, H., Attwood, A., Auton, A., Ball, S., Balmforth, A., Barrett, J., Barroso, I., Barton, A., Bennett, A., Bhaskar, S., Blaszczyk, K., Bowes, J., Brand, O., Braund, P., Bredin, F., Breen, G., Brown, M., Bruce, I., Bull, J., Burren, O., Burton, J., Byrnes, J., Caesar, S., Clee, C., Coffey, A., Connell, J., Cooper, J., Dominiczak, A., Downes, K., Drummond, H., Dudakia, D., Dunham, A., Ebbs, B., Eccles, D., Edkins, S., Edwards, C., Elliot, A., Emery, P., Evans, D., Evans, G., Eyre, S., Farmer, A., Nicol Ferrier, I., Feuk, L., Fitzgerald, T., Flynn, E., Forbes, A., Forty, L., Franklyn, J., Freathy, R., Gibbs, P., Gilbert, P., Gokumen, O., Gordon-Smith, K., Gray, E., Green, E., Groves, C., Grozeva, D., Gwilliam, R., Hall, A., Hammond, N., Hardy, M., Harrison, P., Hassanali, N., Hebaishi, H., Hines, S., Hinks, A., Hitman, G., Hocking, L., Howard, E., Howard, P., Howson, J., Hughes, D., Hunt, S., Isaacs, J., Jain, M., Jewell, D., Johnson, T., Jolley, J., Jones, I., Jones, L., Kirov, G., Langford, C., Lango-Allen, H., Mark Lathrop, G., Lee, J., Lee, K., Lees, C., Lewis, K., Lindgren, C., Maisuria-Armer, M., Maller, J., Mansfield, J., Martin, P., Massey, D., McArdle, W., McGuffin, P., McLay, K., Mentzer, A., Mimmack, M., Morgan, A., Morris, A., Mowat, C., Myers, S., Newman, W., Nimmo, E., O’Donovan, M., Onipinla, A., Onyiah, I., Ovington, N., Owen, M., Palin, K., Parnell, K., Pernet, D., Perry, J., Phillips, A., Pinto, D., Prescott, N., Prokopenko, I., Quail, M., Rafelt, S., Rayner, N., Redon, R., Reid, D., Renwick, A., Ring, S., Robertson, N., Russell, E., St Clair, D., Sambrook, J., Sanderson, J., Schuilenburg, H., Scott, C., Scott, R., Seal, S., Shaw-Hawkins, S., Shields, B., Simmonds, M., Smyth, D., Somaskantharajah, E., Spanova, K., Steer, S., Stephens, J., Stevens, H., Stone, M., Su, Z., Symmons, D., Thompson, J., Thomson, W., Travers, M., Turnbull, C., Valsesia, A., Walker, M., Walker, N., Wallace, C., Warren-Perry, M., Watkins, N., Webster, J., Weedon, M., Wilson, A., Woodburn, M., Wordsworth, B., Young, A., Zeggini, E., Carter, N., Frayling, T., Lee, C., McVean, G., Munroe, P., Palotie, A., Sawcer, S., Scherer, S., Strachan, D., Tyler-Smith, C., Brown, M., Burton, P., Caulfield, M., Compston, A., Farrall, M., Gough, S., Hall, A., Hattersley, A., Hill, A., Mathew, C., Pembrey, M., Satsangi, J., Stratton, M., Worthington, J., Deloukas, P., Duncanson, A., Kwiatkowski, D., McCarthy, M., Ouwehand, W., Parkes, M., Rahman, N., Todd, J., Samani, N., & Donnelly, P. (2010). Genome-wide association study of CNVs in 16,000 cases of eight common diseases and 3,000 shared controls Nature, 464 (7289), 713-720 DOI: 10.1038/nature08979

Cleveland, L., & Grimstone, A. (1964). The Fine Structure of the Flagellate Mixotricha paradoxa and Its Associated Micro-Organisms Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences (1934-1990), 159 (977), 668-686 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1964.0025

Koretke KK, Lupas AN, Warren PV, Rosenberg M, & Brown JR (2000). Evolution of two-component signal transduction. Molecular biology and evolution, 17 (12), 1956-70 PMID: 11110912

Zhang, Q., Raoof, M., Chen, Y., Sumi, Y., Sursal, T., Junger, W., Brohi, K., Itagaki, K., & Hauser, C. (2010). Circulating mitochondrial DAMPs cause inflammatory responses to injury Nature, 464 (7285), 104-107 DOI: 10.1038/nature08780

Kilian, K., Bugarija, B., Lahn, B., & Mrksich, M. (2010). Geometric cues for directing the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (11), 4872-4877 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903269107

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1 Comment:

Lucas Brouwers said...

Thanks for featuring Thoughtomics!
The pictures definitely add a nice touch =).