Tag Archives: human disease

UMass Amherst Cell Biologists Show Molecular Forces Are Key to Proper Cell Division

AMHERST, Mass. – Studies led by cell biologist Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are revealing new details about a molecular surveillance system that helps detect and correct errors in cell division that can lead to cell death or human diseases. Findings are reported in the current issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

The purpose of cell division is to evenly distribute the genome between two daughter cells. To achieve this, every chromosome must properly interact with a football-shaped structure called the spindle. However, interaction errors between the chromosomes and spindle during division are amazingly common, occurring in 86 to 90 percent of chromosomes, says Maresca, an expert in mitosis. (more…)

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Mystery of Nematode Pest-Resistant Soybeans Cracked by MU Scientists

Gene related to soybeans’ resistance to nematodes also correlates with human diseases

COLUMBIA, Mo. — For 50 years, the world’s soybean crop has depended on the use of cyst nematode resistant varieties of beans, but no one knew how these plants fought off the nematode pests. Now, the secrets of resistant soybean plants are finally coming to light. Surprisingly, one of the genes related to nematode resistance in soybeans also has been associated with human diseases including lymphocytic leukemia, spina bifida and cardiovascular disease, according to a team of University of Missouri researchers and their colleagues whose breakthrough was recently published in the journal Nature.

“Nine years ago, when I began investigating the molecular basis of soybean resistance to nematodes in an effort to identify the genes involved, I never imagined it would be this complex,” said Melissa Mitchum, co-author of the paper and associate professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri’s Bond Life Sciences Center. “The gene responsible for nematode resistance was completely unexpected. The gene, called serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), is common in nature and found in different kingdoms including both animals and plants. In humans, mutations in the SHMT gene can lead to a deficiency of folate, a B vitamin that is essential to the production and maintenance of cells, and this has been linked to a variety of diseases.” (more…)

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Precautions for Tick-Borne Disease Extend “Beyond Lyme”

Save the tick that bites you: it may not be the one you think

This year’s mild winter and early spring were a bonanza for tick populations in the eastern United States. Reports of tick-borne disease rose fast.

While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, new research results emphasize that it is not the greatest cause for concern in most Southeastern states.

The findings are published today in a paper in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health. (more…)

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New Mouse Reference Library Should Speed Gene Discoveries

Genetic information provided by a large group of specially designed mice could pave the way to faster human health discoveries and transform the ways people battle and prevent disease.

In 15 papers published Feb. 16 in the Genetics Society of America journals Genetics and G3:Genes/Genomes/Genetics, researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Jackson Laboratory and other universities and labs across the globe highlight a new genetic resource that could aid development of more effective treatments for any number of human diseases. (more…)

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MU Researchers Find New Insight into Fatal Spinal Disease

*Discovery could lead to treatments for muscular dystrophy and ALS*

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Researchers at the University of Missouri have identified a communication breakdown between nerves and muscles in mice that may provide new insight into the debilitating and fatal human disease known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

“Critical communication occurs at the point where nerves and muscles ‘talk’ to each other. When this communication between nerves and muscles is disrupted, muscles do not work properly,” said Michael Garcia, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center.  “In this study, we found that delivery of ‘the words’ a nerve uses to communicate with muscles was disrupted before they arrived at the nerve ending.” (more…)

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