News Archive

 

Image of a larval fruit fly brain

Brain glia cells increase their DNA content to preserve vital blood-brain barrier

January 13, 2012

Whitehead Institute scientists report that the growing fruit fly brain instructs subperineurial glia (SPG) cells that form the blood-brain barrier to enlarge by creating multiple copies of their genomes in a process known as polyploidization.

Photos of zebrafish heads, one with reduced lincRNA megamind production and an enlarged head, and the other normal megamind production and head size

Long intervening non-coding RNAs play pivotal roles in brain development

December 22, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified conserved, long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that play key roles during brain development in zebrafish, and went on to show that the human versions of these RNAs can substitute for the zebrafish lincRNAs.

Microscope images of mouse blood samples

Long non-coding RNA prevents the death of maturing red blood cells

December 7, 2011

A long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) prevents programmed cell death during one of the final stages of red blood cell differentiation, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. This is the first time a lncRNA has been found to play a role in red blood cell development and the first time a lncRNA has been shown to affect programmed cell death.

Not all cellular reprogramming is created equal

December 1, 2011

Tweaking the levels of factors used during the reprogramming of adult cells into induced pluriopotent stem (iPS) cells can greatly affect the quality of the resulting iPS cells, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. This finding explains at least in part the wide variation in quality and fidelity of iPS cells created through different reprogramming methods.

Novel surface triples stem-cell growth in culture

November 7, 2011

By irradiating typical polystyrene lab plates with ultraviolet (UV) waves, Whitehead Institute and MIT scientists have created a surface capable of tripling the number of human embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that can be grown in culture by current methods.

Breast tissue showing both breast cancer cells and normal breast epithelial cells

High levels of master heat shock protein linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer patients

October 31, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists report that patients whose estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers have high levels of an ancient cellular survival factor experience poor outcomes—including increased mortality.

Yeast cells indicating that Aβ disrupts normal cellular trafficking

Yeast model connects Alzheimer's disease risk and amyloid beta toxicity

October 27, 2011

In a development that sheds new light on the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a team of Whitehead Institute scientists has identified connections between genetic risk factors for the disease and the effects of a peptide toxic to nerve cells in the brains of AD patients.

How major signaling pathways are wired to our genome gives new insight into disease processes

October 27, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that master transcription factors determine the genes regulated by key signaling pathways. In this way, signaling pathways are targeted to genes that are most relevant to each cell type and tailor gene expression to control cell state, growth, differentiation, and death.

Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch honored with National Medal of Science

September 27, 2011

For the second straight year, President Barack Obama is recognizing a member of the Whitehead Institute faculty with the nation’s highest scientific honor.

Electron micrograph of Ebola virus.

Scientists identify point of entry for deadly Ebola virus

August 24, 2011

Using an unusual human cell line of this type, Whitehead Institute researchers and their collaborators performed a genetic screen and identified a protein used by Ebola virus to gain entry into cells and begin replicating. The discovery may offer a new approach for the development of antiviral therapeutics.

Diagram of cancer cell type equilibrium

Cancer stem cells made, not born

August 18, 2011

New findings by scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute point to a decentralized society in tumors, with cancer cells able to interconvert between different types. These results have potential implications for the treatment of tumors, in particular, that attacking cancer stem cells alone may not be enough to fight cancer.

Protein unmasks pathogenic fungi to activate immune response

August 8, 2011

Whitehead Institute researchers have uncovered a novel association between two fungal recognition receptors on the surface of certain immune cells, called macrophages.  The interaction of these receptors (dectin-1 and galectin-3) sheds new light on how the innate immune system discriminates between non-pathogenic and pathogenic fungi.

Pages

© Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research              455 Main Street          Cambridge, MA 02142