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New technique determines virus-host interacting RNA sequences

The Miska lab and colleagues have developed a new technique that can determine how RNA viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. This provides insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles and potentially allows researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process to prevent the virus spreading.

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MaTaDa method reveals transcription factor binding

The method to study where transcription factors bind to chromatin of specific cell types, Targeted DamID (TaDa), has now been applied to mammalian embryonic stem cells. The Brand and Surani labs pooled expertise to show that MaTaDa is a sensitive and accurate approach to revealing the binding of pluripotency factors during the development of germ cells.

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A third antiviral mechanism identified in animals

The Miska lab and collaborators identify a mechanism that targets viruses for degradation, working in parallel with, but independent of, the RNAi pathway known in most animals and plants. The discovery was made using a newly developed system for antiviral gene discovery in C elegans.

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Resolving the cellular basis of mouse pancreas development

Using a combination of cell lineage tracing, single-cell expression profiling and biophysical modelling, the Simons and Huch labs and colleagues have studied the process by which stem cells divide and differentiate to form the mouse pancreas. They show that the large-scale organisation of the gland is the result of branching morphogenesis by small populations of self-renewing cells in the ductal tips.

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An RNA helicase as potential cancer therapy target

The Kouzarides lab have shown that expression of the DDX3X helicase in breast cancer cells is necessary for their growth and proliferation.  Depletion of the helicase induces cell cycle arrest because it no longer suppresses expression of KLF4, a transcription factor and cell cycle repressor. Thus, this work identifies DDX3X as a potential therapeutic target in cancer treatment.

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Liver research prize for Meri Huch

At the annual meeting of the British Association for the Study of the Liver in York, 19-21 September 2018, Meri Huch will receive the Dame Sheila Sherlock Research Prize, which is BASL's major award to recognise young researchers who will help shape the future of UK hepatology. Meri will also deliver a Key Note Lecture titled "Liver organoids for the study of liver regeneration and disease”.

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Highlighting cytoskeletal dynamics

Two papers from the Gallop lab have been selected for inclusion in a special collection on Cytoskeletal Dynamics, curated by Journal of Cell Biology, to be made free online for three weeks. The publications are about i) control of actin polymerization by coincidence of phosphoinositides and high membrane curvature , and ii) an analytical tool for quantifying filopodia growth.

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Meet Jenny Gallop in our new video

Our new group leader video features Jenny Gallop describing her work on the actin cytoskeleton. The Gallop lab use frog egg extracts and fruit flies in their analysis of how actin forms structures protruding from the cell membrane, called filopodia. They have developed a unique microscopy system to watch filopodia growing, and an image analysis tool that quantifies the tiny movements.

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Next Gurdon Institute Seminar on 15th November

Melissa Little, of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Victoria, Australia, will talk on 'Generating human kidney tissue from pluripotent stem cells' at 10am on Thursday 15th November (note unusual day and time!). Venue tbc; all are welcome.

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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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