Cell Biology
New discovery could lead to broad-spectrum antivirals
Scientists have identified a key human gene that is required for cells to consume and destroy viruses. The results of the study were published in Nature on December 16 and could point to new treatments to target viral infections, including COVID-19.  Discuss
Cas9 modification can improve efficiency of gene editing
A modification to CRISPR/Cas9 systems can improve their functionality for gene editing in DNA repair, according to a report published in Nature Communications on November 27. The new Cas9 variant also improves the safety of the system for precision gene editing applications.  Discuss
SARS-CoV-2 hijacks lung cells for its own purposes
The first map of molecular responses of human lung cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection has been developed. It shows that the novel coronavirus causes significant protein and phosphorylation damage, effectively hijacking lung cells to enable its entry and propagation, according to a study published in Molecular Cell.  Discuss
Researchers cook up 'recipes' for stem cell programming
Transcription factors (proteins that control gene expression) can be used in simple "recipes" to easily convert stem cells into hundreds of different cells and tissues, according to a new study published in Nature Biotechnology on November 30.  Discuss
CRISPR phage offers precision medicine tool to fight bacterial infections
In an attempt to combat bacterial infections, Locus Biosciences is developing bacteriophage therapies that deliver CRISPR-Cas3 machinery directly to specific, targeted pathogens to obliterate them. Locus CEO Paul Garofolo discusses the company's technology and recent updates with The ScienceBoard.net.  Discuss
Metabolic control of Tregs is critical for immune tolerance
A new study identifies how metabolism exerts control over regulatory T (Treg) cells, which play a key role in the recognition of foreign and self-produced molecules. The findings, published in Cell Metabolism on November 17, may help scientists identify new drug targets for autoimmune diseases and cancers.  Discuss
Why the most common SARS-CoV-2 strain spreads so easily
A new study confirms that the D614G mutant SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is now the most common form of the virus, is more easily transmitted among hosts but does not cause more severe disease than the original virus. The findings were published in Science on November 12.  Discuss
Improving the safety of gene therapies 2 different ways
Two groups of researchers have developed unique approaches to overcome the limitations of delivery of gene editing therapeutics. In a pair of new papers, researchers describe methods for more efficient and safe delivery of CRISPR components to targeted cells and tissues.  Discuss
Digital microfluidic technique connects cells to their environment
A new digital microfluidic technique allows researchers to connect physical cell properties with the molecular makeup of individual cells. This new approach, published in Nature Communications on November 11, will enable a deeper study of stem cells and other rare cell types for therapeutic development.  Discuss
RNA interactions may hold key to drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2
Researchers have unearthed how the SARS-CoV-2 virus employs genomic "origami" to infect and replicate inside host cells, a discovery that may hold the key to developing novel antiviral drugs that target specific areas of the virus's genomic structure. The findings were published on November 5 in Molecular Cell.  Discuss
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