This week, researchers report new findings that elucidate the role of NOD2, a key molecular player in Crohns Disease, in the cellular signaling pathways that control inflammatory responses. NOD2s clinical relevance is clear from the fact that it is encoded by a Crohns Disease susceptibility gene. Understanding NOD2 has posed a particularly intriguing challenge for researchers because it appears able to somehow both activate and inhibit inflammatory cytokine responses in the cell. The work is reported by Lewis Cantley and colleagues at Harvard Medical School.
Crohns Disease is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract and is histologically characterized by inflammation, epithelial ulceration, fissure formation, and stenosis of segments of the entire gastrointestinal tract. The disease leads to significant morbidity and is thought to result from an inappropriate immune response to bacteria that normally inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. Because Crohns Disease is characterized by too much initial acute inflammation, and, subsequently, too little subsequent negative regulation of that inflammatory response, pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory pathways appear to be faulty.
Previous work has shown that NOD2 acts as an intracellular receptor for bacteria and bacterial breakdown products, and because it appears capable of both activating and inhibiting inflammatory responses, NOD2 serves as a key integration point for the gastrointestinal tracts response to infectious organisms. The biochemical nature of NOD2s dichotomous role is unknown. In the new work, the researchers shed light on this problem by showing that NOD2 activation leads to the modification of NEMO, a central component of the NF-kB signaling pathway controlling inflammatory responses. NOD2 mutations responsible for Crohns Disease cause polymorphisms that prevent the NOD2 protein from properly modifying NEMO. These results suggest that this previously unrecognized modification on a component of the major inflammatory signaling pathway in the body helps to integrate inflammatory signals. These results also suggest that this signaling mechanism may ultimately represent a pharmacological target for the amelioration of Crohns Disease.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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