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Diagrams of DNA "goody bags"

October 7, 2014

Special chromosomal structures control key genes

Scientists have long theorized that the way in which the roughly three meters of DNA in a human cell is packaged to fit within a nuclear space just six microns wide, affects gene expression. Now, Whitehead Institute researchers present the first evidence that DNA structure does indeed have such effects—in this case finding a link between chromosome structure and the expression and repression of key genes.

Image of yeast cells

October 2, 2014

Scientists develop novel approach to boost biofuel production

MIT and Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a new way to boost yeast tolerance to ethanol simply by altering the composition of the medium in which the yeast are grown. They believe this finding could have a significant impact on industrial biofuel production.

Diagram of the Sestrins' role in mTORC1 regulation

September 25, 2014

New protein players found in key disease-related metabolic pathway

Cells rely on the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway—which senses the availability of nutrients—to coordinate their growth with existing environmental conditions. The lab of Whitehead Member David Sabatini has identified a family of proteins that negatively regulate the branch upstream of mTORC1 that senses amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

Diagram of pseudouridylation of mRNA

September 15, 2014

Scientists discover RNA modifications in some unexpected places

Deploying sophisticated high-throughput sequencing technology, dubbed ψ-seq, a team of Whitehead Institute and Broad Institute researchers collaborated on a comprehensive, high-resolution mapping of ψ sites that confirms pseudouridylation, the most common post-transcriptional modification, does indeed occur naturally in mRNA.

Diagram of reprogramming factors in SNEL

September 4, 2014

New reprogramming factor cocktail produces therapy-grade induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may hold the potential to cure damaged nerves, regrow limbs and organs, and perfectly model a patient’s particular disease. Yet these cells can acquire serious genetic and epigenetic abnormalities that lower the cells’ quality and limit their therapeutic usefulness. Now Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a cocktail of reprogramming factors that produces very high quality iPSCs.

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