Tag: Protein Function

Pathogenic fungi reveal new mechanism for evolution

September 29, 2005

Researchers in the laboratory of Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist have identified a key mechanism that enables pathogenic fungi to evolve drug-resistant capabilities with such distressing rapidity.

Image: Diagram of how insulin aids glucose absorption

Fat chance: the biology of obesity

June 22, 2005

Better understanding of fat-cell hormones will help us attack the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Harvey Lodish, a Founding Whitehead Member and professor of biology at MIT, has pioneered this field.

Image: Diagrams of protein fibers

Unweaving amyloid fibers to solve prion puzzles

June 8, 2005

Amyloid fibers are best known as the plaque that gunks up neurons in people with neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease—the human analog of mad cow disease. But even though amyloids are common and implicated in a host of conditions, researchers haven’t been able to identify their precise molecular structures.

Image: Function of MEI-S332

When cells divide

April 27, 2005

Cells are dividing all the time, and that’s a good thing. If they didn’t, our tissue and organs couldn’t replenish themselves, and pretty soon we’d be done for. But when cell division goes wrong, it can have disastrous results, such as cancer and birth defects. Scientists in the lab of Whitehead Member Terry Orr-Weaver have uncovered one of the primary mechanisms governing cell division.

Researchers identify target for cancer drugs

February 14, 2005

For nearly a decade, scientists have been trying to fully understand a particular communication pathway inside of cells that contributes to many malignant brain and prostate cancers.

Faster drug screening

November 17, 2004

Finding molecules that can potentially be developed into therapies is a time-consuming, cumbersome process. Now, Whitehead scientists have developed a way to simplify the process so that a library of 5,000 molecular drug candidates can potentially be screened on a single slide.

Emerald City: How a jellyfish helped advance science

September 15, 2004

Salmon fishermen trolling along the waters off Puget Sound in Washington are often witness to an awesome sight when they haul in their catch: salmon captured in nets that glow brilliantly against the nighttime sky.

Sperm cells “spring” into action

September 8, 2004

Scientists have identified a surprising mechanical means by which cells store and release energy, a tightly wound jack-in-the-box mechanism rather than the chemical storehouse cells are known to use.

Prions act as stepping stones in evolution

August 18, 2004

When a protein misfolds, the results can be disastrous. An incorrect change in the molecule’s shape can lead to diseases including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. But scientists have discovered that misfolded proteins can have a positive side in yeast.

Protein targeted by drug developers not open and shut case

August 11, 2004

Discovery of the mTOR protein and the role it plays in cell growth, a process often linked to diseases such as cancer, was part serendipity and part good detective work. And like any good whodunit, the mTOR story wouldn’t be complete without an unexpected twist.

Researchers discover receptor molecule for key diabetes protein

June 30, 2004

Obesity researchers made an intriguing discovery in 2001 when they found that large doses of a particular fat-cell protein, adiponectin, caused obese mice to lose weight.

Amyloid fibers exposed to Hsp104

Researchers discover protein that dissolves amyloid fibers

May 20, 2004

Amyloid fibers, those clumps of plaque-like proteins that clog up the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, have perplexed scientists with their robust structures. In laboratory experiments, they are able to withstand extreme heat and cold and powerful detergents that cripple most other proteins.

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