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.
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The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
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After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
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