Molecular & Cell Biology


This is a cross section of an injury in the large intestine with the intestinal epithelium shown in red.
Over 3.5 million people in Europe and the US suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis – the two most common forms of IBD. Chronic bowel inflammation is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to the bacteria which naturally occur in the gut. "This overreaction can come about if, for example, the anti-stress mechanism in the cells of the intestinal mucosa does not function correctly," explains Prof. Dirk Haller of the TUM Chair of Nutrition and Immunology.

Molecular & Cell Biology

The molecular building blocks that make up DNA absorb ultraviolet light so strongly that sunlight should deactivate them – yet it does not. Now scientists have made detailed observations of a "relaxation response" that protects these molecules, and the genetic information they encode, from UV damage. The experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory focused on thymine, one of four DNA building blocks. Researchers hit thymine with a short pulse of ultraviolet light and used a powerful X-ray laser to watch the molecule's response: A single chemical bond stretched and snapped back into place within 200 quadrillionths of a second, setting off a wave of vibrations that harmlessly dissipated the destructive UV energy.

Molecular & Cell Biology

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine scientists have made an extraordinary double discovery. First, they have identified thousands of novel long non-coding ribonucleic acid (lncRNA) transcripts. Second, they have learned that some of them defy conventional wisdom regarding lncRNA transcripts, because they actually do direct the synthesis of proteins in cells.


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