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1.  Endothelial adherens junctions and the actin cytoskeleton: an 'infinity net'? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(3):16.
A recent paper in BMC Biology reports that actin stress fibers in adjacent cultured endothelial cells are linked through adherens junctions. This organization might provide a super-cellular network that could enable coordinated signaling and structural responses in endothelia.
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PMCID: PMC2871513  PMID: 20377920
2.  Genome of a songbird unveiled 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(3):19.
An international collaborative effort has recently uncovered the genome of the zebra finch, a songbird model that has provided unique insights into an array of biological phenomena.
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PMCID: PMC2871510  PMID: 20359317
3.  Robust and specific inhibition of microRNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(3):20.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the expression of numerous target genes. Yet, while hundreds of miRNAs have been identified, little is known about their functions. In a recent report published in Silence, Zheng and colleagues demonstrate a technique for robust and specific knockdown of miRNA expression in Caenorhabditis elegans using modified antisense oligonucleotides, which could be utilized as a powerful tool for the study of regulation and function of miRNAs in vivo.
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PMCID: PMC2871512  PMID: 20359318
4.  The mathematics of sexual attraction 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(3):18.
Pollen tubes follow attractants secreted by the ovules. In a recent paper in BMC Plant Biology, Stewman and colleagues have quantified the parameters of this attraction and used them to calibrate a mathematical model that reproduces the process and enables predictions on the nature of the female attractant and the mechanisms of the male response.
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PMCID: PMC2871514  PMID: 20353548
5.  Evolution underground: shedding light on the diversification of subterranean insects 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(3):17.
A recent study in BMC Evolutionary Biology has reconstructed the molecular phylogeny of a large Mediterranean cave-dwelling beetle clade, revealing an ancient origin and strong geographic structuring. It seems likely that diversification of this clade in the Oligocene was seeded by an ancestor already adapted to subterranean life.
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PMCID: PMC2871511  PMID: 20236467
6.  Scale-eating cichlids: from hand(ed) to mouth 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):11.
Two recent studies in BMC Biology and Evolution raise important questions about a textbook case of frequency-dependent selection in scale-eating cichlid fishes. They also suggest a fascinating new line of research testing the effects of handed behavior on morphological asymmetry.
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PMCID: PMC2871516  PMID: 20236497
7.  Top dogs: wolf domestication and wealth 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):10.
A phylogeographic analysis of gene sequences important in determining body size in dogs, recently published in BMC Biology, traces the appearance of small body size to the Neolithic Middle East. This finding strengthens the association of this event with the development of sedentary societies, and perhaps even has implications for the inception of human social inequality.
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PMCID: PMC2871521  PMID: 20236496
8.  No better time to FRET: shedding light on host pathogen interactions 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):12.
Understanding the spatio-temporal subversion of host cell signaling by bacterial virulence factors is key to combating infectious diseases. Following a recent study by Buntru and co-workers published in BMC Biology, we review how fluorescence (Forster) resonance energy transfer (FRET) has been applied to studying host-pathogen interactions and consider the prospects for its future application.
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PMCID: PMC2871520  PMID: 20236488
9.  Making progress in genetic kin recognition among vertebrates 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):13.
A recent study in BMC Evolutionary Biology has shown that genetically similar individual ring-tailed lemurs are also more similar in their scent composition, suggesting a possible mechanism of kin recognition. Theoretical and experimental studies reveal challenges ahead in achieving a true systems-level understanding of this process and its outcomes.
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PMCID: PMC2871517  PMID: 20236486
10.  Acoel and platyhelminth models for stem-cell research 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):14.
Acoel and platyhelminth worms are particularly attractive invertebrate models for stem-cell research because their bodies are continually renewed from large pools of somatic stem cells. Several recent studies, including one in BMC Developmental Biology, are beginning to reveal the cellular dynamics and molecular basis of stem-cell function in these animals.
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PMCID: PMC2871518  PMID: 20236484
11.  Regeneration review reprise 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):15.
There have been notable advances in the scientific understanding of regeneration within the past year alone, including two recently published in BMC Biology. Increasingly, progress in the regeneration field is being inspired by comparisons with stem cell biology and enabled by newly developed techniques that allow simultaneous examination of thousands of genes and proteins.
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PMCID: PMC2871519  PMID: 20236485
12.  Bunched and Madm: a novel growth-regulatory complex? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):8.
By combining Drosophila genetics and proteomics Gluderer et al. report in this issue of Journal of Biology the isolation of a novel growth-regulatory complex consisting of Bunched and Madm. Future study of this complex will address the precise mechanism of growth control, regulation of complex activity, the interface with other growth pathways and a potential role in human cancer.
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PMCID: PMC2871529  PMID: 20156328
13.  Q&A: What can microfluidics do for stem-cell research? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):1.
PMCID: PMC2871530  PMID: 20478011
14.  Regulation of metabolism in Caenorhabditis elegans longevity 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):7.
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a favorite model for the study of aging. A wealth of genetic and genomic studies show that metabolic regulation is a hallmark of life-span modulation. A recent study in BMC Biology identifying metabolic signatures for longevity suggests that amino-acid pools may be important in longevity.
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PMCID: PMC2871526  PMID: 20156326
15.  Reprogramming of the non-coding transcriptome during brain development 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):5.
A recent global analysis of gene expression during the differentiation of neuronal stem cells to neurons and oligodendrocytes indicates a complex pattern of changes in the expression of both protein-coding transcripts and long non-protein-coding RNAs.
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PMCID: PMC2871522  PMID: 20156321
16.  The THO complex as a key mRNP biogenesis factor in development and cell differentiation 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):6.
The THO complex is a key component in the co-transcriptional formation of messenger ribonucleoparticles that are competent to be exported from the nucleus, yet its precise function is unknown. A recent study in BMC Biology on the role of the THOC5 subunit in cell physiology and mouse development provides new clues to the role of the THO complex in cell differentiation.
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PMCID: PMC2871528  PMID: 20236444
17.  SnoPatrol: how many snoRNA genes are there? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):4.
Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are among the most evolutionarily ancient classes of small RNA. Two experimental screens published in BMC Genomics expand the eukaryotic snoRNA catalog, but many more snoRNAs remain to be found.
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PMCID: PMC2871523  PMID: 20122292
18.  Apical polarity in three-dimensional culture systems: where to now? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):2.
Delineation of the mechanisms that establish and maintain the polarity of epithelial tissues is essential to understanding morphogenesis, tissue specificity and cancer. Three-dimensional culture assays provide a useful platform for dissecting these processes but, as discussed in a recent study in BMC Biology on the culture of mammary gland epithelial cells, multiple parameters that influence the model must be taken into account.
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PMCID: PMC2871524  PMID: 20092610
19.  Sometimes one just isn't enough: do vertebrates contain an H2A.Z hyper-variant? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(1):3.
How much functional specialization can one component histone confer on a single nucleosome? The histone variant H2A.Z seems to be an extreme example. Genome-wide distribution maps show non-random (and evolutionarily conserved) patterns, with localized enrichment or depletion giving a tantalizing suggestion of function. Multiple post-translational modifications on the protein indicate further regulation. An additional layer of complexity has now been uncovered: the vertebrate form is actually encoded by two non-allelic genes that differ by expression pattern and three amino acids.
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PMCID: PMC2871525  PMID: 20092611
20.  The water flea Daphnia - a 'new' model system for ecology and evolution? 
Journal of Biology  2010;9(2):21.
Daphnia pulex is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced. Availability of the genome sequence will have implications for research in aquatic ecology and evolution in particular, as addressed by a series of papers published recently in BMC Evolutionary Biology and BMC Genomics.
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PMCID: PMC2871515  PMID: 20478012
21.  The bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes: an emerging model in prokaryotic transcriptomics 
Journal of Biology  2009;8(12):107.
A major challenge in bacterial pathogenesis is understanding the molecular basis of the switch from saprophytism to virulence. Following a recent whole-genome transcriptomic analysis using tiling arrays, an article published in BMC Genomics reports the first use of RNA-seq in Listeria monocytogenes in order to identify genes controlled by sigma B, a transcriptional regulator with a critical role in virulence.
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PMCID: PMC2804279  PMID: 20053304
22.  Forward genetics in Tribolium castaneum: opening new avenues of research in arthropod biology 
Journal of Biology  2009;8(12):106.
A recent paper in BMC Biology reports the first large-scale insertional mutagenesis screen in a non-drosophilid insect, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. This screen marks the beginning of a non-biased, 'forward genetics' approach to the study of genetic mechanisms operating in Tribolium.
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PMCID: PMC2804280  PMID: 20053302
23.  Scribble at the crossroads 
Journal of Biology  2009;8(12):104.
Although proteins involved in determining apical-basal cell polarity have been directly linked to tumorigenesis, their precise roles in this process remain unclear. A recent report in BMC Biology clarifies the signaling pathways that control cell polarity, proliferation and apoptosis downstream of the tumor suppressor and apical-basal polarity determinant Scribble.
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PMCID: PMC2804276  PMID: 20053305
25.  Mapping the protistan 'rare biosphere' 
Journal of Biology  2009;8(12):105.
The use of cultivation-independent approaches to map microbial diversity, including recent work published in BMC Biology, has now shown that protists, like bacteria/archaea, are much more diverse than had been realized. Uncovering eukaryotic diversity may now be limited not by access to samples or cost but rather by the availability of full-length reference sequence data.
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PMCID: PMC2804278  PMID: 20067591

Results 1-25 (265)