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Almost all research work in computational neuroscience involves software. As researchers try to understand ever more complex systems, there is a continual need for software with new capabilities. Because of the wide range of questions being investigated, new software is often developed rapidly by individuals or small groups. In these cases, it can be hard to demonstrate that the software gives the right results. Software developers are often open about the code they produce and willing to share it, but there is little appreciation among potential users of the great diversity of software development practices and end results, and how this affects the suitability of software tools for use in research projects. To help clarify these issues, we have reviewed a range of software tools and asked how the culture and practice of software devel...
The interdisciplinary nature of bioinformatics makes it an ideal framework to develop activities enabling enquiry-based learning. We describe here the development and implementation of a pilot project to use bioinformatics-based research activities in high schools, called “Bioinformatics@school.” It includes web-based research projects that students can pursue alone or under teacher supervision and a teacher training program. The project is organized so as to enable discussion of key results between students and teachers. After successful trials in two high schools, as measured by questionnaires, interviews, and assessment of knowledge acquisition, the project is expanding by the action of the teachers involved, who are helping us develop more content and are recruiting more teachers and schools.
Protein aggregation leading to formation of amyloid fibrils is a symptom of several diseases like Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and so on. Elucidating the poorly understood mechanism of such phenomena entails the difficult task of characterizing the species involved at each of the multiple steps in the aggregation pathway. It was previously shown by us that spontaneous aggregation of hen-eggwhite lysozyme (HEWL) at room temperature in pH 12.2 is a good model to study aggregation. Here in this paper we investigate the growth kinetics, structure, function and dynamics of multiple intermediate species populating the aggregation pathway of HEWL at pH 12.2. The different intermediates were isolated by varying the HEWL monomer concentration in the 300 nM—0.12 mM range. The intermediates were characterized using techniques like steady-state an...
While the mechanism by which Grp94 displays its chaperone function with client peptides in the cell has been elucidated extensively, much less is known about the nature and properties of how Grp94 can engage binding to proteins once it is exposed on the cell surface or liberated in the extra-cellular milieu, as occurs in pathological conditions.
This study aimed to determine whether telomere length (TL) is a marker of cancer risk or genetic status amongst two cohorts of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and controls. The first group was a prospective set of 665 male BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and controls (mean age 53 years), all healthy at time of enrolment and blood donation, 21 of whom have developed prostate cancer whilst on study. The second group consisted of 283 female BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and controls (mean age 48 years), half of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to enrolment. TL was quantified by qPCR from DNA extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes. Weighted and unweighted Cox regressions and linear regression analyses were used to assess whether TL was associated with BRCA1/2 mutation status or cancer risk. We found no evidence for association...
In the brain, extracellular adenosine increases as a result of neuronal activity. The mechanisms by which this occurs are only incompletely understood. Here we investigate the hypothesis that the Na+ influxes associated with neuronal signalling activate the Na+-K+ ATPase which, by consuming ATP, generates intracellular adenosine that is then released via transporters. By measuring adenosine release directly with microelectrode biosensors, we have demonstrated that AMPA-receptor evoked adenosine release in basal forebrain and cortex depends on extracellular Na+. We have simultaneously imaged intracellular Na+ and measured adenosine release. The accumulation of intracellular Na+ during AMPA receptor activation preceded adenosine release by some 90 s. By removing extracellular Ca2+, and thus preventing indiscriminate neuronal activation, ...
Development of effective malaria vaccines is hampered by the problem of producing correctly folded Plasmodium proteins for use as vaccine components. We have investigated the use of a novel ciliate expression system, Tetrahymena thermophila, as a P. falciparum vaccine antigen platform. A synthetic vaccine antigen composed of N-terminal and C-terminal regions of merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) was expressed in Tetrahymena thermophila. The recombinant antigen was secreted into the culture medium and purified by monoclonal antibody (mAb) affinity chromatography. The vaccine was immunogenic in MF1 mice, eliciting high antibody titers against both N- and C-terminal components. Sera from immunized animals reacted strongly with P. falciparum parasites from three antigenically different strains by immunofluorescence assays, confirming that...
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