Select 2014-15 publication highlights:
The Bhatia and Singh labs discovered a new method to
convert peripheral blood cells to neural progenitors, which will
make the development and study of model neural tissue directly
from patients with neural diseases much easier. The cells can
be used in high throughput screens for new drugs.
Cell Rep. 11(9):1367-76, 2015.
The Brown lab identified the first small molecule inhibitor of
bacterial ribososme biogenesis. Most antibiotics that target
bacterial ribosomes inhibit their function, rather than their
assembly, so this discovery opens the door to new ways of
inhibiting bacterial growth. Elife 3:e03574, 2014.
The Burrows lab showed that minor components of the pilus
system in Pseudomonas have a critical role in initiation of pilus
assembly and trafficking of a mechanosensor that controls
virulence to the cell surface, resolving long-standing questions
about the functions of these proteins.
J Biol Chem. 290( 1):601-11, 2015.
The Li lab published a paper showing that a DNA fragment
from an albumin gene could be rapidly evolved in vitro to
have enzymatic activity, a finding that speaks to the route of
evolution of enzymes from primordial molecules.
Sci Rep. 5:11405, 2015.
Joint BBS member Melacini and his group devised and
validated NMR methods for identifying allosteric interactions
of proteins with small molecules, which will provide elusive
information that is useful for drug development.
Sci. Rep. 4:7306, 2014.
Miller and colleagues published a study of broadly
neutralizing influenza antibodies isolated from human blood in
attempts to understand how to best design a universal, one-time (instead of annual) vaccine. They found that the subtypes
of antibodies produced in the respiratory tract have excellent
capacity to neutralize the virus.
J Virol. 89( 7):3610-8, 2015.
The Ortega lab used structural approaches to reveal the
function of an enigmatic assembly factor in bacterial ribosome
biogenesis, showing its involvement in maturation of the 30S
subunit. These assembly factors are potential novel drug targets.
RNA 21( 6):1203-16, 2015.
Researchers from the Schertzer group and their collaborators
discovered that faulty sensing of bacterial cell wall fragments
contributes to inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity.
EMBO Mol Med. 7( 3):259-74, 2015.
While investigating links between fetal nutrition and
subsequent fertility, the Sloboda lab showed that inadequate
nutrition during the period of fetal development led to later
impairment of the adults’ ovarian development and function.
Biol Reprod. 92( 4):110, 2015.
The Steinberg group found a link between high levels
of circulating serotonin and obesity, and showed that
inhibiting serotonin synthesis reduced obesity by
activating thermogenesis in brown fat.
Nat Med. 21( 2):166-72, 2015.
With their clinical colleagues, the Surette group
showed that fecal microbiota transplants,
which have already proven to be highly
efficacious in treating antibiotic-induced
Clostridium difficile infections, may also
benefit patients who are suffering from
Gastroenterology 149( 1):102-109.e6, 2015.
The Truant lab used sophisticated live cell imaging to show
that mutant Huntington protein can form two distinct types of
inclusions in cells, and that the tightly packed conformation of
one of those forms makes them insoluble and thus less toxic.
This finding may help direct the search for drugs that promote
this Huntington conformation.
Hum Mol Genet. 1; 23(9):2324-38, 2014.
The Wright and Coombes labs collaborated on work leading
to the identification of an inhibitor of a
dangerous antibiotic resistance enzyme
called NDM- 1 that contributes to nearly
untreatable bacterial infections.
The inhibitor is made by a fungus
isolated in Eastern Canada, and when
given in conjunction with antibiotics,
protected mice from antibiotic-resistant infection.
Nature. 510(7506):503-6, 2014.
Truant continues to upgrade the MacBiophotonics facility,
keeping the department’s imaging capacity on the cutting edge.
After renovations to the facility that relocated the spinning
disk confocal to a new room, he added a user-friendly eVOS
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