Science news: 2016

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

Discovery of gene effects on brain brings scientists closer to understanding rare developmental disorder

Researchers have revealed the effects on the developing brain of a gene that causes Cornelia de Lange Syndrome and have identified two possible candidates for screening for genetic mutations.
29 December 2016

Scientists uncover the structure of a protein complex linked with breast and ovarian cancer risk

Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have described the molecular structure of a key tumour suppressor protein and provided insights into its role in cells.
20 December 2016

New insights into ‘master regulator’ of cell division overturn textbook explanation

Key evidence for how CDK, the ‘master regulator’ of cell division, switches on different proteins at different stages in the process.
15 December 2016

Tracking breast cancer cell genetics reveals longer potential treatment window

Breast cancer cells break away and spread to other parts of the body relatively late on in breast tumour development, an international team of scientists has shown.
09 December 2016

Scientists uncover novel properties of key signalling molecule in cell division

The binding of a signalling factor called ECT2 to the cell envelope is essential for cells to divide.
06 December 2016

B cells use mechanical forces to pull antigens from other cell surfaces

Immune cells called B cells use mechanical forces to physically pull antigens such as viruses or toxins from the surfaces of other cells.
06 December 2016

A novel zebrafish model enables genetic studies of Hirschsprung disease

A zebrafish model of Hirschsprung disease enables scientists to study the disease’s causes and consequences in real life in live animals.
30 November 2016

Inflammatory responses in flies give insights into human diseases

Fruit flies and humans have much in common when it comes to inflammatory responses to stress or injury.
22 November 2016

Scientists reveal how immune system tags Toxoplasma capsule

Crick scientists have discovered how the body's immune system deals with the prolific Toxoplasma parasite as it attempts to hide itself inside human cells.
22 November 2016

Insights into the mechanisms of homologous recombination, an important DNA repair process

Work led by Francis Crick Institute scientists has improved our understanding of homologous recombination – an essential process for repairing broken DNA that could otherwise lead to cancer.
17 November 2016

Zebrafish research identifies a key mechanism underlying organ positioning

Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered the cell-cell interaction responsible for positioning the liver on one side of the body during zebrafish development.
07 November 2016

Ancient antiviral mechanism hidden in mammalian cells but still active

An ancient system used by invertebrates to fight viruses still exists in mammals, but is masked by a mammal-specific antiviral mechanism.
04 November 2016

Scientists discover immune cell trigger

Scientists have now discovered how CD4 immune cells switch from their normal 'helper' role to acting as 'killer' cells.
01 November 2016

New protein marker for breast cancer

Researchers have revealed a protein marker on certain progenitor cells in breast tissue that can give rise to tumours.
31 October 2016

Scientists track down elusive DNA damage repair enzyme

Research led by the Francis Crick Institute has tracked down an elusive enzyme that is key to repairing a type of DNA damage in animals.
27 October 2016

Leukaemia cell movement gives clues to tackling treatment-resistant disease

New research is shedding light on how leukaemia cells can survive cancer treatment, suggesting new possibilities for stopping them in their tracks.
17 October 2016

Cell signalling and protein phosphorylation: a new type of ‘switch’

New research has turned the field of protein phosphorylation on its head.
14 October 2016

Yeast study suggests a third of all genes are involved in metabolism

Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and the University of Cambridge have grown around 5,000 strains of yeast, each missing a different gene, to find out what role each gene plays. This staggering piece of work led to the discovery that a huge proportion – a third – of the genes are involved in metabolism.
29 September 2016

Genetic switch for cancer cell immortality revealed

A genetic switch involved in the packaging of DNA may be key to a cancer cell’s ability to keep growing, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have found.
29 September 2016

Pioneering research points to a new class of targets for cancer and immune diseases

Scientists have identified molecules that orchestrate localised immune responses in our body tissues and may point to new treatments for cancer and inflammatory diseases.
15 September 2016

New insight into the progression of tuberculosis infection

Study suggests it may be possible to predict which people infected with TB will go on and develop the disease.
05 September 2016

Interferon shows promise as flu therapy

A molecule the body produces naturally in response to virus infection could be a viable flu treatment in the future, suggest researchers at the Crick.
01 September 2016

Crick team identifies new target for tuberculosis drug development

Scientists led by Dr Luiz Pedro Carvalho at the Crick have found a promising new target in the search for new tuberculosis drugs.
01 September 2016

Pollutants cause breathing problems by disrupting cell development

Chemicals found in car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke disrupt genetic factors that make cilia – the brush-like structures on cells that sweep mucus, dirt and bacteria out of the lung.
24 August 2016

Eating may inhibit brain molecule – reducing anxiety but increasing obesity risk

Neurons that produce the signalling molecule orexin – which is linked to anxiety and stress - are inactivated by eating, suggesting a biological basis for comfort eating.
18 August 2016

Cryomicroscopy shows how flu virus fuses with host cell

Imaging influenza virus fusion with membranes provides new understanding of a key step in influenza virus infection.
08 August 2016

‘Spidey’ genes that regulate cell growth discovered in fruit flies

Francis Crick Institute scientists have discovered that a gene in fruit flies called ‘spidey’ regulates a key lipid-metabolising enzyme involved in cell growth and proliferation.
08 August 2016

Fibrosis discovery heralds new treatment hopes

A signaling protein called TPL-2 is crucial in preventing severe fibrosis.
03 August 2016

New antibody offers treatment hope for flu and may even lead to design of universal vaccine

A new antibody has promise as a potential treatment for influenza A – the source of seasonal and pandemic flu outbreaks – new research suggests.
21 July 2016

Putting brakes on brain stem cells stops them running out too soon

A protein called Huwel plays a key role in slowing down brain stem cell proliferation, making sure that the stem cells don’t run out and can continue to produce new nerve cells in the brain throughout life.
15 July 2016

Antibodies in patients with rare disorder may have role in preventing diabetes

People with a rare autoimmune disorder produce autoimmune antibodies that appear to be linked to a reduced occurrence of Type 1 diabetes, new research has found.
14 July 2016

Research shows how infection-fighting T cells move between lymph nodes.

Researchers have discovered a biochemical pathway that controls how disease-fighting T cells move between and adhere to lymph nodes.
11 July 2016

Discovery of cell division gene’s role solves three-decade mystery

Researchers have discovered the role of the first gene found - in 1974 - to cause chromosome loss when mutated.
07 July 2016

Scientists find possible new drug target to treat asthma

Crick scientists studying allergic asthma have identified a protein that plays a role in reactions to house dust mites, pointing to a possible new drug target.
05 July 2016

Rare genetic mutations found linked to cases of multiple bowel tumours

Research has identified genetic mutations that may lead to rare cases of multiple bowel tumours at the same time.
05 July 2016

Scientists speed up clock that controls development of body segments in embryos

A team of researchers has sped up a biological clock that controls embryonic development, causing zebrafish to develop more body segments than usual and faster.
15 June 2016

Monkey malaria weak spot could prevent hop to humans

Scientists have identified a gene that lets monkey malaria infect humans.
13 June 2016

Medical research: Improved method for mitochondrial replacement therapy

A preclinical analysis of mitochondrial replacement therapy, using an optimized version of the pronuclear transfer (PNT) technique, is reported in Nature (8 June 2016).
09 June 2016

New tool allows researchers to reproduce conditions of embryonic development in lab

A new microfluidic tool allows scientists to replicate the conditions of embryonic development in the lab.
31 May 2016

25 years since Randy, the sex-reversed mouse

Twenty-five years ago, Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute was part of a team of scientists who created a transgenic sex-reversed mouse they called Randy.
25 May 2016

White paper on guidelines on stem cell therapy for gut disorders

Could stem cells repair or replace the damaged or missing neurons? Over the last two decades, numerous international groups have been involved in studies to find out if it could be possible to develop stem cell therapy.
20 May 2016

Bacterial immunisation prevents PTSD-like symptoms in mice

Scientists have discovered that immunising mice with a bacterium can reduce stress and inflammation and prevent them from developing post-traumatic stress disorder-like conditions.
17 May 2016

Specialised properties of ‘germinal centre B cells’help production of antibodies

The discovery of specialised mechanical and signalling properties of a certain type of B cells helps them to produce highly potent antibodies during immune responses.
16 May 2016

The secret double life of MSL

In collaboration with scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, the Crick’s Nicholas Luscombe was part of a team that revealed how MSL1, a central component of dosage compensation in flies, interacts with the enzyme CDK7 broader role in the chromosome-wide gene regulation.
16 May 2016

Brain can compensate for reduced olfactory input

The brain can compensate for reduced olfactory input and still obtain useful information, according to new research in mice.
13 May 2016

Steps that lead to genes being switched on revealed in atomic simulation

Researchers have modelled every atom in a key part of the process for switching on genes, revealing a whole new area for potential drug targets.
13 May 2016

Multi-faceted approach to screening genes and proteins improves accuracy

By combining multiple methods for screening genes and proteins, scientists have cut down on false positives and negatives.
12 May 2016

Cells carry 'memory' of injury, which could reveal why chronic pain persists

Researchers have made inroads into understanidng why chronic pain can persist even after the injury that caused it.
12 May 2016

Bugs as drugs

By cataloguing and growing more than 130 gut bacteria, researchers hope the understand more about how our bacterial ‘microbiome’ helps keep us healthy.
04 May 2016

Stiffening of arteries detected in young adults

Arterial stiffness, as an indicator of cardiovascular risk, can be detected in early adulthood.
03 May 2016

Five new breast cancer genes found

Discovery of mutations paves the way for personalised treatment of breast cancer.
02 May 2016

Forcing proteins to interact together reveals regulatory circuits within cells.

Scientists have uncovered new ways to regulate cells’ growth by forcing proteins inside a cell to interact in new and different ways with each other.
21 April 2016

Insights into rare psoriasis gene mutations may help treat common causes of the disease

Researchers have discovered how relatively rare mutations cause psoriasis, with implications for treating patients with more common causes of the disease.
12 April 2016

The brain on LSD revealed: first scans show how the drug affects the brain

For the first time, researchers have visualised how the psychedelic drug LSD affects the brain.
11 April 2016

Cell ‘skeletons’ help keep cell division on track and cancer in check

New insights into how microtubules in the cell cytoskeleton switch between phases of growth and shrinkage have implications for research into cancer and other conditions.
04 April 2016

Crick researcher awarded the Colworth Medal

Dr Markus Ralser has been awarded the Biochemical Society’s Colworth Medal for his work on the early evolution of cellular metabolism, and the dynamic nature of metabolism that allows living cells to adapt to stress situations.
30 March 2016

Early-stage embryos with abnormalities can still develop into healthy babies

Research shows that abnormal cells within embryos can be killed off by programmed cell death, and replaced by normal cells for healthy embryo development.
29 March 2016

TB research reveals new angle for drug research

Sodium chloride is a trigger for phenotypic – non-genetic – resistance to antibacterial drugs by the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).
28 March 2016

'Silencer molecules' switch off cancer's ability to spread around body

A key molecule in breast and lung cancer cells can help switch off the ability of the cancers to spread around the body.
21 March 2016

Scientists pinpoint molecular signal that drives and enables spinal cord repair

The discovery of a molecular signal that drives and enables the spinal cord’s natural capacity for repair after injury could one day lead to new treatments for spinal injury patients.
18 March 2016

New lupus study reveals why the body’s immune cells cause so much damage

Researchers have discovered why immune cells cause so much damage and can’t regulate themselves in people with lupus.
09 March 2016

Tumours contain the seeds of their own destruction

A scientist from the Francis Crick Institute has made a groundbreaking discovery in understanding how the genetic complexity of tumours can be recognised and exploited by the immune system, even when the disease is at its most advanced stages.
03 March 2016

Bacterial hideout could be source of TB reactivation

Bacteria that cause tuberculosis can live in the walls of lymph vessels. The discovery, made by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute, could explain why people can be treated for TB hiding outside the lungs, recover and then get it again.
22 February 2016

Understanding how DNA replication machinery works

New research provides insights into how the machinery that copies DNA functions.
18 February 2016

Understanding chromosome segregation during cell division

Protein degradation pathways control the levels of protein at the kinetochore – a key structure that helps segregate chromosomes during cell division.
18 February 2016

Brain caught ‘filing’ memories during rest

Memories formed in one part of the brain are replayed and transferred to a different area during rest.
18 February 2016

Iron in the blood could cause cell damage, say researchers

Concentrations of iron similar to those delivered in standard treatments can trigger DNA damage within 10 minutes in cells in the lab.
11 February 2016

Blocking stress protein relieves chronic pain in mice

A protein that shapes the body’s response to stress also drives chronic pain, offering new targets for pain treatments.
11 February 2016

Novel gene implicated in deafness

Researchers have demonstrated a direct link between a gene called Wbp2 and progressive hearing loss.
08 February 2016

HFEA approval for new “gene editing” techniques

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has approved a research application from the Francis Crick Institute to use new "gene editing" techniques on human embryos.
01 February 2016

Yeast study suggests that the food we eat could affect our genes

Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat, according to new research.
01 February 2016

Estrogens alleviate hyperactivity in zebrafish with autism gene

Estrogen alleviates the sleep disruption experienced by zebrafish genetically designed to help understand the biology of autism spectrum disorder.
28 January 2016

John Diffley wins 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

John Diffley, Associate Research Director, the Francis Crick Institute, has been awarded the 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine.
19 January 2016

New therapy target for allergic asthma

Discovery of a gene that controls allergic asthma presents a new target to prevent asthma attacks.
18 January 2016

Mouse model helps pinpoint genetic cause of Down syndrome heart defects

Scientists have created a mouse model of the heart defects that occur in Down syndrome during embryonic development.
14 January 2016

Alternatives to antibiotics not a short-term solution to drug-resistant infections

A new report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust assesses whether alternatives to antibiotics could contribute to controlling the rise of drug-resistant infections, one of the greatest global public health threats of our time.
12 January 2016

Biomarker predicts risk of preterm birth

Offering a standard biomarker test earlier in pregnancy could help doctors identify women at risk of giving birth prematurely.
11 January 2016

Scientists measure real rates of change in global gene expression levels for the first time in animal embryos

For the first time in animals, scientists have shown that it is possible to simultaneously measure the expression of all genes by determining absolute numbers of messenger RNAs.
06 January 2016

Flu virus hijacking tactics revealed by scientists

Scientists have discovered how viruses ‘hijack’ our body’s cell machinery in work that may pave the way for better antiviral treatments.
06 January 2016

Maintaining diverse antigen receptors on infection-fighting T cells

How our immune system maintains a diverse range of receptors on our infection-fighting T cells even when cells with particular receptors are replicated in large numbers to fight off a threat.
05 January 2016

Age and immune cell make up may help predict a patient’s response to cancer immunotherapy treatment

Francis Crick Institute scientists have discovered unexpected ways in which age and a particular type of immune cell make-up affect how an individual responds to vaccination, giving us clues as to how we might improve our immune responses to other forms of treatment, for example cancer immunotherapy.
04 January 2016