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The micro RNA miR-7 buffers stem cells against environmental stress

During development of the Drosophila visual system neuroepithelial cells are gradually transformed into neural stem cells (or neuroblasts) in response to an advancing wave of proneural gene expression. Caygill and Brand now show that the evolutionarily conserved microRNA, miR-7, ensures the timely generation of neural stem cells under conditions of environmental stress.

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What makes a loser? Piddini lab has the answers

The Piddini lab's new paper identifies the signalling pathways that characterise loser cells. They have discovered that activation of the oxidative stress response is sufficient to turn cells into losers, to be killed off by their neighbours. This response is a hallmark of pathologies in neurodegenerative disease and cancer, so the work provides new avenues for understanding the onset and spread of these diseases.

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The function of Chk1 in early frog embryo development

The Zegerman lab with ex-Gurdon Institute Director Jim Smith have examined the signals in the early dividing frog embryo to demonstrate why the cell cycle lengthens at the mid-blastula transition. The limiting replication factor Drf1 is specifically inhibited by checkpoint kinase Chk1, leading to longer replication cycles.

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A spectrum of pluripotent states in embryonic stem cells

The Surani lab show that embryonic stem cells, which can generate all cell lineages in the developing embryo, can be coaxed into a spectrum of many pluripotent states. This influences their response to differentiation and could be relevant for their future therapeutic use.

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Modelling transcription factor networks with software

Namshik Han from the Kouzarides lab, with Manchester colleagues, has developed a computational approach to identifying new members of transcription factor networks and new interactions between members. The authors are offering the software to others researching the regulation of gene transcription.

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Livesey lab capture movies of neurons taking up tau

Tau protein tangles in neurons are a feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology, and current thinking is that the disease spreads via cell-cell transfer of disease-specific forms of tau. The Livesey lab have explored how extracellular tau, in either single molecules or aggregated, is taken up by neurons in vitro, finding several different entry mechanisms at work.

Preprint on Biorxiv

Meri Huch wins funds from NC3Rs

Group Leader Meri Huch is receiving one of nine new project grants from the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research. Previously a winner of an NC3Rs award, Meri will explore how to create liver cancer organoids from patients' tumour biopsies.

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All welcome to our August seminar

All are welcome to attend our upcoming Informal Seminar from Stuart Forbes, Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh. The talk will be here in the Gurdon Institute Tea Room at 10.45am on Friday 25th August, and the title is: Liver Regeneration in the Damaged Liver.

Seminar series on

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.


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