Newly published observations in patients and experiments in mice provide evidence that cigarette smoke reduces expression of the protein NLRX1 in the lung, taking the restraints off a destructive immune response that results in COPD. The researchers hope that pinpointing the protein’s role could lead to improved COPD risk assessment, diagnostics, and treatment.
Christine Biron, professor of medical science, is one of three people who have been invited to deliver a distinguished lecture at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in New Orleans this week. The meeting draws thousands of researchers from more than 40 countries.
Mating and meiosis – the specialized cell division that reduces the number of chromosomes in a cell – are related, but in most yeasts they are regulated separately. Not so in Candida lusitaniae, where the two programs work in unison, according to a new study in Nature. Comparison with other species suggests that this fusion may support C. lusitaniae’s “haploid lifestyle” of maintaining only one set of chromosomes in each cell.
In the biology lab or in the art studio, creative thinking opens new pathways for exploration and learning. Microbiologist Peter Belenky has followed a path through systems biology and synthetic biology into the microbiome and an encounter with cholera-sensing, cholera-fighting yogurt bacterium.
Proliferation cues ‘natural killer’ cells for job change
Why would already abundant ‘natural killer’ cells proliferate even further after subduing an infection? It’s been a biological mystery for 30 years. But now Brown University scientists have an answer: After proliferation, the cells switch from marshaling the immune response to calming it down. The findings illuminate the functions of a critical immune system cell important for early defense against disease induced by viral infection.
June 12, 2014
Candida tropicalis turns out to have sex, making it the second medically important member of the genus to be capable of mating. Sex may improve the survival of the species, particularly when it’s under pressure. It may also mean the species can a chieve greater virulence or drug resistance more quickly than previously thought. Credit: David Orenstein, December 5, 2011
In their first semester at Brown, students have had the chance to discover their own species, name it, examine its DNA and walk the walk of real scientists. Even as the students toiled against the clock one November day, they readily took the time to praise the experience. Credit: David Orenstein, November 29, 2011