Sex differences exist in the regulation of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus in response to hormones and cognitive training. Here we investigated the trajectory and maturation rate of adult-born neurons in the dentate gyrus (DG) of male and female rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were perfused one, two or three weeks after BrdU injection, marking newly dividing cells. Adult-born neurons (BrdU/NeuN-ir) matured…
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Read the Publication This week we profile a recent publication in PNAS from the laboratory of Dr. Jörg Gsponer (pictured) at the Michael Smith Laboratories. Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus? We are interested in intrinsically disordered proteins and their contribution to signalling and regulation in cells. We develop and apply computational methods that help…
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one the most common human afflictions, contributing to long-term disability in survivors. Emerging data indicate that functional improvement or deterioration can occur years after TBI. In this regard, TBI is recognized as risk factor for late-life neurodegenerative disorders. TBI encompasses a heterogeneous disease process in which diverse injury subtypes and multiple molecular mechanisms overlap. To…
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The incidence of cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), continues to rise alongside the global obesity and diabetes epidemics. This rise suggests that factors modulated by environment or lifestyle play a key role, but the mechanisms by which obesity and type 2 diabetes promote cancer remain unclear. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with elevations in circulating insulin and…
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Manipulating feeding circuits in freely moving animals is challenging, in part because the timing of sensory inputs is affected by the animal’s behavior. To address this challenge in Drosophila, the authors developed the Sip-Triggered Optogenetic Behavior Enclosure (‘STROBE’). The STROBE is a closed-looped system for real-time optogenetic activation of feeding flies, designed to evoke neural excitation coincident with food contact.
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The authors describe a new method - the peptidisc method - for reconstituting the E. coli membrane proteome into detergent-free, water-soluble particles that are amenable to biochemical fractionation. In collaboration with Leonard Foster’s lab at UBC, they combined quantitative proteomics and bioinformatics, and were able to predict a number of novel protein-protein interactions which were not previously identified by other detergent-based methods.
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Modulation of Innate Immunity by Amyloidogenic Peptides

Amyloidogenic peptides of both bacterial and mammalian origin transition through multiple aggregation states with distinct effects on mononuclear phagocyte function, commonly mediated by TLR2 and NLRP3. Promising therapeutic agents target such macrophage/peptide interactions. Disease-associated amyloidogenic peptides may act as antimicrobial peptides. Soluble oligomers bind microbial cell walls, protofibrils limit adhesion to host cells, and fibrils wall off invading pathogens. Infectious…
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In an attempt to identify genomic modifiers that contribute towards the age of onset of Huntington disease (HD), the authors performed a transcriptome wide association study assessing heritable differences in genetically determined expression in diverse tissues, employing genome wide data from over 4,000 patients. This identified genes that showed evidence for colocalization and replication, with downstream functional validation being performed in isogenic HD stem cells and patient brains.
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The RNA-guided Cas9 endonuclease from Streptococcus pyogenes is a single-turnover enzyme that displays a stable product state after double-stranded-DNA cleavage. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of precatalytic, postcatalytic and product states of the active Cas9–sgRNA–DNA complex in the presence of Mg2+. In the precatalytic state, Cas9 adopts the ‘checkpoint’ conformation with the HNH nuclease domain positioned far away from the DNA. Transition…
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The mammary gland in adult women consists of biologically distinct cell types that differ in their surface phenotypes. Isolation and molecular characterization of these subpopulations of mammary cells have provided extensive insights into their different transcriptional programs and regulation. This information is now serving as a baseline for interpreting the heterogeneous features of human breast cancers. Examination of breast cancer…
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