Tag: Protein Function

Diagram of how the control of the translation of mRNAs into proteins shifts as the egg becomes an the embryo

Elegant switch controls translation in transition from egg to embryo

June 14, 2017

The transition from an egg to a developing embryo is one of life’s most remarkable transformations. Now Whitehead Institute researchers have used fruit flies to decipher how one aspect—control of the translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into proteins—shifts as the egg becomes an the embryo.  This type of switch could tell scientists more about how human cells work and embryos develop.

Rohgerry Deshycka, Harvey Lodish, Nova Pishesha

Undergraduate in Lodish lab doubly awarded for “outstanding” research

May 25, 2017

Rhogerry “Gerry” Deshycka, a graduating senior working in the lab of Whitehead Institute Founding Member Harvey Lodish, has received one of MIT’s two Randolph G. Wei Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) awards for 2017 and MIT’s 2017 John L. Asinari Award

Whitehead Member David Sabatini

Whitehead Member David Sabatini awarded Foundation for the NIH Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences

April 4, 2017

Prize bestowed for discovery of the mTOR pathway’s impact on age-related diseases

Researchers uncover a role for HSP90 in gene-environment interactions in humans

February 23, 2017

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have now uncovered a role for the protein-folding chaperone HSP90 in humans, not only as a modifier of the effects of mutations, but as a mediator of the impact of the environment on the function of mutant proteins. And these effects of HSP90 can alter the course of human diseases.

Images of yeast containing prion-like proteins and controls

Revising the meaning of “prion”

October 6, 2016

Prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow’s disease. Yet, it’s not likely that’s all they’re good for. Using an unbiased screen in yeast, a team of Whitehead Institute and Stanford University scientists have identified dozens of prion-like proteins that could change the defining characteristics of these unusual proteins. 

Images of toxoplasma parasites inside of a host cell

Genome-wide Toxoplasma screen reveals mechanisms of parasitic infections

September 1, 2016

Whitehead Institute researchers have conducted the first genome-wide screen in Apicomplexa, a phylum of single-celled parasites that cause diseases such as malaria and toxoplasmosis. The screen sheds light into the vast, unstudied reaches of parasite genomes, uncovering for instance a protein common to all apicomplexans.

Microscope images of mitochondria

Novel method enables absolute quantification of mitochondrial metabolites

August 31, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to quickly isolate mitochondria from mammalian cells and systematically measure the concentrations of mitochondrial metabolites. Mitochondrial dysfunction is found in several disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and mitochondrial diseases. Until now, peering into the inner metabolic workings of these vital organelles has been very challenging.

Three images of human lung cells were infected with influenza A virus.

Tiny alpaca-derived antibodies point to targets preventing viral infection

June 20, 2016

Using tiny, alpaca-derived, single-domain antibody fragments, Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to perturb cellular processes in mammalian cells, allowing them to tease apart the roles that individual proteins play in these pathways. With improved knowledge of protein activity, scientists can better understand not only basic biology but also how disease corrupts cellular function and identify potential therapeutics to rectify these aberrations.

Photo of plate showing different strengths of prion activity in yeast

Prion-like protein found in plants

April 29, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that a plant protein involved in the timing of flowering could in fact be a prion. This is the first time that a possible prion has been identified in plants, and it may play a role in a plant’s “memory” of cold exposure during winter.

Cartoon of CASTOR1's role in mTORC1 regulation

Scientists identify sensor that modulates key metabolic pathway

March 10, 2016

Whitehead Institute researchers have elucidated how the growth-regulating metabolic pathway known as mTORC1 (for mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) senses the amino acid arginine. This nutrient sensor may represent a novel therapeutic target for controlling mTORC1, whose activity is often dysregulated in a variety of diseases, including diabetes and cancer. 

Diagram showing the frequency of mutations in the gene for RagC

Scientists identify mTOR pathway mutations in follicular lymphoma

December 21, 2015

A team of researchers from Whitehead Institute and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have identified in follicular lymphoma tumors a mutated protein that could serve as a biomarker to predict therapeutic response.

Schematic of looping chromosomal structure

3D map of human genome reveals relationship between mutations and disease development

December 10, 2015

Whitehead Institute researchers have created a map of the DNA loops that comprise the three dimensional (3D) structure of the human genome and contribute to gene regulation in human embryonic stem cells. The location of genes and regulatory elements within this chromosomal framework will help scientists better navigate their genomic research, establishing relationships between mutations and disease development.

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