HFSP Long-Term Fellow Fang Jiang and colleagues
Friday 20th February 2015
Studies showing that occipital cortex responds to auditory and tactile stimuli after early blindness are often interpreted as demonstrating that early blind subjects ‘see’ auditory and tactile stimuli. One such example is that area hMT+ – a region associated with visual motion processing in sighted – responds to auditory and tactile motion stimuli within early blind individuals. However, to claim that blind subjects ‘see’ using occipital cortex requires that occipital responses directly...
HFSP Career Development Award holder Matthew Neale and colleagues
Monday 16th February 2015
Meiotic recombination is a critical step in gametogenesis for many organisms, enabling the creation of genetically diverse haploid gametes. Regulating the distribution of recombination events so that they are evenly spread across all chromosomes is fundamental for both maintaining genome stability and promoting genetic variation. Here we demonstrate that meiotic DNA breaks (DSBs), the precursors of those recombination events, are not distributed randomly. Moreover, we demonstrate that the evolutionarily...
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Dan Dominissini and colleagues
Tuesday 10th February 2015
Transcriptome-wide mapping of the modified base N6-methyladenosine in RNA joins discoveries of methyl-binding proteins and demethylating enzymes to herald the field of ‘epitranscriptomics’ – dynamic post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA analogous to the better known reversible epigenetic modifications of DNA and histone proteins.
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Manuel Irimia and colleagues
Friday 6th February 2015
Against common intuition, tiny microexons as short as 3 nucleotides can and do exist within our genes. Surprisingly, not only can they be recognized by the cellular machinery and become part of proteins, but they were also often found to be only (or mainly) expressed in neurons. Microexons are switched on during late neuronal differentiation, and impact surfaces of proteins that are crucial for neuronal maturation and synaptic function. Through this protein surface 'microsurgery', microexons...
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Raffaella Di Micco and colleagues
Monday 2nd February 2015
A better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate ESC identity is needed to fulfill the promise of ESCs in regenerative medicine. Transcription factors and chromatin regulators control the ability of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to self-renew and remain undifferentiated. An epigenetic reader called BRD4 acts at the boundary between transcription and chromatin remodeling: it binds to acetylated histone tails and recruits RNA Polymerase specifically at key stem cell genes. Genetic and chemical...
HFSP Program Grant holder Guy Lyons and colleagues
Sunday 1st February 2015
The epithelial tissues that line our bodies are the frontline protection against the environment and microorganisms. Here, we have discovered how one of these tissues, the cornea, is maintained by a population of specialized progenitor cells located at the edge of the clear tissue.
HFSP Program Grant holder Yossi Yovel and colleagues
Thursday 29th January 2015
When you sit in a dark cinema theatre and someone opens a bag of chips, everyone in the theatre knows that someone is eating chips and approximately where that someone is. Bats work similarly. When one bat finds a patch of insects, all of the other bats within earshot will realize this. That’s very useful information because bats can use their sonar to detect an insect only when it is very close – within 10 meters - but a bat can hear that another bat has detected an insect from more than 100...
HFSP Program Grant holders Alessandra Cambi and Maria Garcia-Parajo and colleagues
Tuesday 27th January 2015
Novel biophysical techniques, including super-resolution nanoscopy and single molecule approaches, are providing indisputable proof that many, if not most, membrane proteins are clustered at the plasma membrane at different spatiotemporal scales. We discovered that pathogen recognition receptors organize in a highly hierarchical fashion on the membrane of immune cells, forming nanoclusters that further organize in meso-scale regions enriched with sites for endocytosis. This preferred organization...
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Maithe Arruda-Carvalho and colleagues
Monday 26th January 2015
Fear memory circuits are essential for normal response to threats but also underlie pathologies of excess fear such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Here we uncovered the contribution of a specific microcircuit to the formation of fear memories, bringing us one step closer to understanding the physiological basis of fear regulation.
HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Clement Riedel and colleagues
Friday 23rd January 2015
One of the most important physico-chemical discoveries made by mankind is that matter is made of atoms. These atoms can create covalent bonds to form molecules. During a chemical reaction (the re-arrangement of these atoms to create a new molecule) covalent bonds are made or broken and a given amount of energy is released (typically around ~ 100 kcal/mol). This energy has been well characterized in bulk and corresponds to the enthalpy of the chemical reaction. However, very little attention has...