Cell Biology
Scientists map gene expression without microscopes
A new framework called Tomographer, which uses sequencing data from tissues cut into thin strips in a way that allows them to be reconstructed, has been developed to spatially resolve gene expression data without the need for a microscope. The work was published in Nature Biotechnology on April 19. Read More
A CRISPR on-off switch for genes controls expression without altering DNA
A new gene silencing tool allows scientists to switch genes on and off without altering genetic sequences. The tool, described in a paper published in Cell on April 9, uses a modified CRISPR-Cas9 system to introduce reversible epigenetic changes that control gene expression. Read More
NIH details progress of SCGE consortium
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) consortium has provided a detailed update, published in Nature on April 8, of projects to develop safer and more effective genome editing methods in somatic cells. Read More
Improved RNA sequencing method reveals new insights into small RNAs
Researchers have developed a new RNA sequencing method that can help discover many types of previously undetectable small RNAs. Details of the method, called panoramic RNA display by overcoming RNA modification aborted sequencing (PANDORA-seq), were published in Nature Cell Biology on April 5. Read More
X-ray crystallography identifies drugs to be repurposed for COVID-19
A new large-scale study indicates x-ray crystallography can be used to find drugs that could be repurposed to target the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. In addition to identifying 37 potential drug candidates, the study, published in Science on April 2, revealed a new binding site on the SARS-CoV-2 main protease to which drugs can bind. Read More
Prime editing creates desired gene mutations without collateral damage
A new gene editing tool called prime editing was demonstrated to efficiently create cell-specific knockout mice compared to traditional gene editing techniques. While both platforms successfully created mutations, prime editing did so without measurable on-target indels or off-targeting events, according to a study published in Genome Biology on March 16. Read More
Scientists connect gene to cancer metastasis for the first time
Researchers have identified new functionality of a previously underappreciated gene, leucine-rich repeat neuronal 4 C-terminal like (LRRN4CL), which is overexpressed in melanoma cells. They believe LRRN4CL plays an important role in cancer metastasis to the lungs and describe their findings in Communications Biology on March 23. Read More
Scientists develop ultraspecific CAR T cells that kill only cancer cells
Scientists have devised a two-step engineering circuit that precisely targets solid tumors with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. The engineering feat could be the next step in treating solid tumors using therapeutic T cells, a treatment that has remained out of reach for many cancer patients. The new method was detailed in a Science article on March 12. Read More
Scientists uncover secrets to controlling gene expression
Bioengineers have demonstrated that simultaneous control over transcription and translation in cells can achieve the most stringent control of gene expression to date. The findings, published in Nature Communications on March 19, will open new avenues for improved biotechnologies and synthetic biology applications. Read More
SARS-CoV-2 PLpro enzyme may be an effective COVID-19 drug target
A coronavirus enzyme called papain-like protease (PLpro) that's capable of blocking host innate immune responses during infection may be an attractive COVID-19 target for therapy drug candidates, according to a new study published March 16 in Nature Microbiology. Read More
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