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Building the tails of comets

Using fluorescence microscopy to follow the biochemistry of actin assembly with artificial liposomes and human cell lines, the Gallop lab show how specific phospholipids coupled with high membrane curvature trigger actin polymerisation. The findings suggest a therapeutic strategy for Lowe syndrome, a multi-system genetic disease.

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Role of Aquarius/EMB-4 in heritable transcriptional silencing

The Miska lab and colleagues identify the conserved RNA helicase Aquarius/EMB-4 as a direct and essential link between small RNA pathways and the transcriptional machinery in Caenorhabditis elegans, acting along with the Argonaute protein HRDE-1 as a gatekeeper coordinating gene expression and genome defence.

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Organoids for functional experiments on human embryonic lungs

While embryonic mouse lung has been the standard model for studying human lung development, the Rawlins lab now show that human embryonic lung distal tip epithelium can be grown in vitro, in long-term self-renewing cultures. This 3-D organoid model is accessible to genetic experiments, allowing more direct study of features unique to human lung and supporting research into lung diseases.

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Barcoding cancer cells to trace cell fates

Ben Simons and David Jörg, with collaborators in Cambridge and Canada, traced the fate of glioblastoma brain cancer cells using a genetic "barcoding" system. Their results show that despite mutational heterogeneity, cancer cells follow a surprisingly conserved developmental-like programme, suggesting that therapies targeting cell differentiation rather than proliferation could prove effective against these currently untreatable tumours.

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Prestigious career development award for Surani lab postdoc

Ufuk Günesdogan has won a 2017 Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of €1.65 M to run his own research group for five years at the University of Göttingen, Germany. During his postdoctoral studies in Azim Surani's group, Ufuk has been researching the development of primordial germ cells, work that he will continue with an emphasis on regulation of gene activity, in his new lab.

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Ruth Lehmann next in our seminar series

The new Gurdon Institute Seminar Series begins on Tuesday 26th September when we welcome Ruth Lehmann from the Skirball Institute (NYU School of Medicine, New York) to talk on 'Protecting immortality: Germ line development in Drosophila'. The talk will be in the Pharmacology Lecture Theatre at 11.30am.

Seminar series on Talks.cam

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

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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