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...
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Sonia Melo and colleagues
Monday 19th January 2015
We have unravelled for the first time a cell-independent function of exosomes. Exosomes secreted by cancer cells contain the proteins of the RISC complex that are able to process pre-miRNAS into mature functional microRNAs. In this way cancer exosomes, upon secretion to the extracellular environment, become enriched in mature microRNAs associated with the RISC complex and are much more effective in silencing gene expression in recipient cells. Additionally, we have described that processing of pre...
HFSP Program Grant holders Paul Curmi, Nancy Forde, Heiner Linke and Derek Woolfson and colleagues
Tuesday 13th January 2015
Control over distinct properties of soft biomaterials is often difficult to accomplish: changing the chemistry alters the mechanics at the same time. A modular approach to functionality may be offered by the ability to decorate DNA with peptides of interest, thereby encoding the chemistry presented while retaining DNA’s distinct flexibility and compatibility with a wide variety of materials, biosensing and nanomanipulation strategies.
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Ulrich Braunschweig and colleagues
Thursday 8th January 2015
Most mammalian genes contain introns that have to be spliced out before mRNAs are translated into protein. In a surprisingly high fraction of genes, specific introns are retained predominantly when expression is low in a particular cell type, which potentially acts as a widespread mechanism to reduce inappropriate gene expression.
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Pavan Ramdya and colleagues
Monday 5th January 2015
Groups of animals show enhanced decision-making compared to individuals but the neural pathways underlying collective behaviors remain largely unknown. Elevated Drosophila group reactions to environmental cues emerge from inter-fly touch interactions and a specific set of mechanosensory neurons. This provides an entry point for the neurobiological investigation of collective behavior.
HFSP Long-Term Fellow Ari Pekka Mähönen and colleagues
Monday 22nd December 2014
Plant root systems continuously explore their surrounding environments while searching for nutrients and water in the soil. The exploratory behaviour results from the ability of the growing root tips to change their growth direction as guided by environmental cues. Changes of growth direction are controlled by rapid alterations in the levels of the plant hormone auxin within the root tip.
HFSP Program Grant holders Tomas Grim, Mark Hauber, Matthew Shawkey and Geoffrey Waterhouse
Thursday 11th December 2014
Birds’ eggs are some of the most colourful and variable natural products; yet, only two pigments are considered to be the major contributors to their visual appearance. Eggs of tinamou species (flighted relatives of rheas, emus, and ostriches) are best known for their beautiful mirror-like gloss. We show that a thin and extremely smooth cuticle is responsible for producing this gloss. We also discovered the presence of iridescence on Tinamus major eggshells, whereby the perceived colour changes...
HFSP Program Grant holder Douglas Altshuler and colleagues
Monday 8th December 2014
Little is known about the role of vision in controlling flight in birds. The avian brain has large regions dedicated to processing visual and spatial information, suggesting that visual information is important for bird behavior. We studied free flight behavior of Anna’s hummingbirds in a virtual reality arena with back-projected stationary and moving patterns to investigate how visual motion is used in hovering position control. Hummingbirds lost positional stability when hovering in the presence...
HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Andela Saric and colleagues
Friday 5th December 2014
At physiologically low peptide concentrations, formation of amyloid fibrils is a peculiar two-step process. Disordered protein oligomers, often considered toxic, are found to be crucial on-pathway species for amyloid aggregation under cellular conditions. Formation of peptide oligomers and hence, amyloid fibrils, is controlled by the strength of nonspecific attractions between peptides in solution, whose weakening may be crucial in preventing the formation of amyloid plaques.