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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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Shieldin levels could help predict response to anti-tumour PARP inhibitors

The Jackson lab, with an international team of collaborators, show that testing for levels of the Shieldin complex in BRCA1 mutant tumours could help predict response to anti-cancer therapy. It appears that the presence of Shieldin at DNA breaks renders BRCA1 negative cells sensitive to PARP inhibitors, but if Shieldin levels are low, drug resistance can occur.

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Dynamics of DNA methylation

Rulands and Simons, with colleagues at the Babraham Institute, have combined single-cell sequencing with biophysical modelling approaches to show that as embryonic stem cells become primed for differentiation they exhibit genome-scale oscillations of DNA methylation, which might influence early cell fate decision-making.

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Human development under the spotlight

Two labs have articles in a special issue of the journal 'Development': the Rawlins lab review our current understanding of human lung development, garnered from mouse studies, in vitro human models and RNA sequencing, while Kobayashi and Surani review recent techniques using in vitro simulation models and non-rodent mammaliam embryos to study the origin of human germ cells.

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Daniel St Johnston describes his research

In our new short video you can hear why the St Johnston lab studies cell polarity in epithelia, and what they have discovered about the process that makes one side of a cell different from the other. Over 80% of cancers arise from epithelial cells, and loss of polarity is one of the hallmarks of cancer.

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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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Success in renewing our AS Bronze

We are very pleased to announce that our application to renew our Athena SWAN Bronze Award, first granted in 2014, has been successful. Thanks go to our Equality Working Group!

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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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