A team of scientists supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the private sector, have discovered a genetic "signature" present in some patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who develop such life-threatening complications as blood disorders, central nervous system damage and kidney failure.
Using DNA microarrays — small silicon chips that contain tiny amounts of thousands of known genes — to carry out a technique called gene expression profiling, Timothy W. Behrens, M.D., of the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues from North Shore Long Island Jewish Research Institute, analyzed thousands of genes in the peripheral blood cells of 48 lupus patients and 42 healthy controls. Surprisingly, 14 of the thousands of genes studied were linked to a subset of SLE patients with severe disease. In addition, 161 of the genes studied showed different expression patterns in SLE patients compared with healthy controls.
The 14 genes, referred to collectively as the IFN (interferon) expression signature, are turned on by the activity of interferon, a complex family of proteins involved in the regulation of immune responses. "Patients with severe SLE consistently showed higher expression levels of this IFN signature," says Dr. Behrens. The data, he says, provide strong support for developing new therapies to block IFN pathways in patients with severe lupus, and the pattern of gene expression in blood cells may be useful in identifying patients most likely to benefit from these new therapies. Gene expression profiling in blood cells may also be useful in identifying disease pathways in other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur
MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
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26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Information Technology