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Cell lineage in developing mouse cortex suggests tumour origin

Tracing the fate of sister cells in the developing mouse cortex, the Simons lab and collaborators in Beijing uncover the cellular dynamics during gliogenesis, defining a stereotypic phase of astrocyte and oligodendrocyte production. The results suggest the cellular and lineage origin of primary brain tumour.

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DNA polymerase ε and mutagenesis

DNA polymerases are vital to make sure DNA is faithfully copied every cell cycle. The Jackson lab, with collaborators at the Sanger Institute and University of Gothenburg, carried out studies in yeast showing that cancer-associated variants of DNA polymerase ε can lead to ultra-mutagenesis, giving insight into how these mechanisms may operate in cancer cells.

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Stochasticity in filopodia length regulation

The Gallop lab tracked and measured filopodia and actin regulators in both in vivo and in vitro systems, and by incorporating theoretical modelling with Simons lab colleagues, identified a simple theory that explains how diverse combinations of tip complex proteins give rise to filopodia. The authors suggest that a mechanism based on multiple components allows stereotypical filopodial dynamics to arise from diverse upstream signalling pathways.

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RhoGAP19D: a new lateral polarity factor

The St Johnston lab analysed the roles of Cdc42GAPs in epithelial polarity in the developing Drosophila egg chamber, and identified RhoGAP19D as the GAP that restricts active Cdc42 to the apical domain. In the absence of RhoGAP19D, lateral Cdc42 activity leads to an expansion of the apical domain and a high frequency of epithelial invasion into the germline tissue, mimicking the early steps of carcinoma formation.

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Human and pig germlines reveal similar programmes

The Surani lab, with collaborators in the Alberio lab at University of Nottingham, show that pig PGCs undergo a transcriptional programme and epigenetic remodelling that closely follows that in the human germline. The pig PGCs could therefore provide a valuable model to validate the findings on human PGCs that are difficult to investigate in our species.

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Probing piRNA biogenesis and activity

The piRNA pathway regulates germ cell development and promotes fertility in animals. The Miska lab's finding that RNA Polymerase II subunit RPB‐9 recruits the Integrator complex to terminate transcription at piRNA genes in C. elegans provides new insight into the mechanisms of piRNA biogenesis.

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Catch up on Cambridge Festival

There's a wealth of recorded events that you can find online, now that the live element of the Cambridge Festival is over. More recordings are being added all the time to the Festival's playlist on YouTube. A popular event run by the Gurdon Institute is: 'How organoids help us understand ourselves and treat diseases'.

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Next Gurdon Institute Seminar 26th April

Our next speaker will be Howard Chang (Director of the Center for Personal Dynamic Regulomes, Stanford University School of Medicine) with his talk 'Genome regulation by long noncoding RNAs', at 4pm on Monday 26th April.

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Public engagement award for Institute

The Gurdon Institute is the first part of the University of Cambridge to receive a Silver Engage Watermark from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The award acknowledges the strategic support for public engagement across the Institute, as well as the plans to develop this work in the future.

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New videos describe alpelisib findings

In the video, Jenny Gallop describes exciting findings with the University of Zurich and lab colleagues on the cancer drug alpelisib. Beginning with the lab's study of cell membranes and actin, the team's results in a mouse model suggest alpelisib might help people with the rare genetic diseases Lowe syndrome and Dent disease 2. The video is also available with French or Italian subtitles.

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Ziv is finalist in Researcher of the Year

Miska lab postdoc Omer Ziv has been selected as a finalist in the Cambridge Independent's Science and Technology Awards 2020. The result was announced in the same issue of the newspaper in which Ziv is featured for his latest research on long-range interactions in the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome.

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Institute reopening

The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

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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