Dr. Mario Capecchi and colleagues at the University of Utah and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Salt Lake City, UT) have discovered that a gene called xanthine oxidoreductase, or XOR for short, is required for lactation in female mice. This previously unidentified role for XOR in lactation reveals a possible genetic basis for the lactation difficulties experienced by nearly 5% of women.
XOR was originally identified as encoding an enzyme involved in purine catabolism (the breakdown of adenine and guanine nucleotide bases). Because XOR is expressed in nearly all cells of the body and its protein product participates in a basic metabolic process fundamental to cell survival, XOR was labeled as a "housekeeping gene." But in addition to its constitutive expression patterns, XOR is also highly expressed in lactating mammary epithelium beginning in late pregnancy – prompting researchers to suspect an additional, and perhaps different, role for XOR in the lactating mammary gland.
To identify the function of XOR in the lactating mammary gland, Dr. Capecchi and colleagues generated mice lacking either one (heterozygous) or both (homozygous) functional copies of the XOR gene. As expected for homozygous mutants of a housekeeping gene, homozygous XOR-mutant mice died by 6 weeks of age. In contrast, though, the heterozygous XOR-mutant mice appeared normal, healthy and fertile, but first author Claudia Vorbach and colleagues soon noticed that pups from the XOR heterozygous females all died ~12 days postpartum. The researchers found that pups born to heterozygous XOR-mutant female mice – regardless of the pups XOR status – were essentially starving due to their mothers inability to maintain lactation.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy