Working alone, Jeff Steinhauer has created a sonic analogue of Hawking radiation.
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Excitement rises over chance of new physics from particle-du-jour.
Nature 536 261 doi: 10.1038/nature.2016.20405
Policy change could accelerate development of treatments derived from the drug.
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Health officials launch emergency immunization campaign.
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The Identification and Targeting of Partially-Folded Conformations on the Folding Free-Energy Landscapes of ALS-Linked Proteins for Therapeutic Intervention: A Dissertation
The hallmark feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the accumulation of cytoplasmic inclusions of key disease-linked proteins. Two of these proteins, TDP-43 and SOD1, represent a significant proportion of sporadic and familial ALS cases, respectively. The population of potentially aggregation-prone partially-folded states on the folding free-energy landscape may serve as a common mechanism for ALS pathogenesis. A detailed biophysical understanding of the folding and misfolding energy landscapes of TDP-43 and SOD1 can provide critical insights into the design of novel therapeutics to delay onset and progression in ALS.
Equilibrium unfolding studies on the RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains of TDP-43 revealed the population of a stable RRM intermediate in RRM2, with residual structure localized to the N-terminal half of the domain. Other RRM domains from FUS/TLS and hnRNP A1 similarly populate RRM intermediates, suggesting a possible connection with disease. Mutations, which enhance the population of the RRM2 intermediate, could serve as tools for deciphering the functional and misfolding roles of this partially-folded state in disease models, leading to the development of new biomarkers to track ALS progression.
ALS mutations in SOD1 have been shown to destabilize the stable homodimer to result in increased populations of the monomeric and unfolded forms of SOD1. Mechanistic insights into the misfolding of SOD1 demonstrated that the unfolded state is a key species in the initiation and propagation of aggregation, suggesting that limiting these populations may provide therapeutic benefit to ALS patients. An in vitro time-resolved Förster Resonance Energy Transfer assay to screen small molecules that stabilize the native state of SOD1 has identified several lead compounds, providing a pathway to new therapeutics to treat ALS.
XIST and CoT-1 Repeat RNAs are Integral Components of a Complex Nuclear Scaffold Required to Maintain SAF-A and Modify Chromosome Architecture: A Dissertation
XIST RNA established the precedent for a noncoding RNA that stably associates with and regulates chromatin, however it remains poorly understood how such RNAs structurally associate with the interphase chromosome territory. I demonstrate that transgenic XIST RNA localizes in cis to an autosome as it does to the inactive X chromosome, hence the RNA recognizes a structure common to all chromosomes. I reassess the prevalent thinking in the field that a single protein, Scaffold Attachment Factor-A (SAF-A/hnRNP U), provides a single molecule bridge required to directly tether the RNA to DNA. In an extensive series of experiments in multiple cell types, I examine the effects of SAF-A depletion or different SAF-A mutations on XIST RNA localization, and I force XIST RNA retention at mitosis to examine the effect on SAF-A. I find that SAF-A is not required to localize XIST RNA but is one of multiple proteins involved, some of which frequently become lost or compromised in cancer. I additionally examine SAF-A’s potential role localizing repeat-rich CoT-1 RNA, a class of abundant RNAs that we show tightly and stably localize to euchromatic interphase chromosome territories, but release upon disruption of the nuclear scaffold. Overall, findings suggest that instead of “tethering” chromosomal RNAs to the scaffold, SAF-A is one component of a multi-component matrix/scaffold supporting interphase nuclear architecture. Results indicate that Cot-1 and XIST RNAs form integral components of this scaffold and are required to maintain the chromosomal association of SAF-A, substantially advancing understanding of how chromatin-associated RNAs contribute to nuclear structure.