Enzyme’s Essential Role in Long-Term Memory Refuted

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The enzyme protein kinase M-ζ (PKM-ζ) was thought to be a fixture of long-term memory, as its inhibition could erase old memories, whilst adding it could strengthen faded ones. Two independent groups have challenged the role of this memory molecule by developing mice that completely lack it and show no detectable memory problems.

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Link Between Cell Death & Protein Clumps Could Lead to Possible Treatment for Parkinson’s


A rogue protein involved in Parkinson’s disease that wrecks catastrophic damage has been tracked down by researchers in work that could help find a new possible treatment for the disease.

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Proteins Engineered With Predictable Structures


Proteins fold spontaneously into precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution. Yet given the number of contortions possible for chains of amino acids, dictating how a sequence will fold itself into a predicable structure has been a daunting task.

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Radio-Wave Heated Nanoparticles Trigger Insulin Production in Mice


Researchers have been able to remotely activate genes inside mice, proving the concept that one day, there will be medical procedures in which patients’ genes are triggered from afar. The team led by Jeffrey Friedman, a molecular geneticist at the Rockefeller University in New York, states that in the short term, these results will lead to better tools to manipulate cells, in a non-invasive manner.

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Mutated Protein Allows Flu’s Lethality in Some Patients


The flu can be lethal in some patients, but benign in others. The reason that this is the way that flu infections work might be the cause of a protein, which might be mutated in patients who are more easily affected by the flu than others.

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Sirtuin Protein SIRT6 Linked to Longevity in Mammals


A member of the sirtuin family of proteins, SIRT6, has been shown to extend lifespans in mammals. Researchers studying the aging process have long been intrigued by the sirtuin genes and their associated proteins. Recent results published in the journal Nature suggest that the overexpression of this one gene can lengthen lifespan in male mice by up to 15.8%.

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Foldit Online Gamers Achieve Crowdsourced Redesign of Protein


Online gamers obsessed with puzzles have now topped what scientists had failed to do by themselves, which was to improve the model of an enzyme. This has led to the first crowdsourced redesign of a protein, thanks to the online game Foldit, which was developed to allow players to fiddle at folding proteins at home, to search for the lowest-energy configurations.

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