Stowers News

Activating ALC1: with a little help from friends

Nov 29 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO –Chromatin remodeling—the packaging and unpackaging of genomic DNA and its associated proteins—regulates a host of fundamental cellular processes including gene transcription, DNA repair, programmed cell death as well as cell fate. In their latest study, scientists at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research are continuing to unravel the finicky details of how these architectural alterations are controlled.

Fruit fly studies guide investigators to molecular mechanism frequently misregulated in human cancers

Nov 19 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO—Changes in how DNA interacts with histones—the proteins that package DNA—regulate many fundamental cell activities from stem cells maturing into a specific body cell type or blood cells becoming leukemic. These interactions are governed by a biochemical tug of war between repressors and activators, which chemically modify histones signaling them to clamp down tighter on DNA or move aside and allow a gene to be expressed.

Scott Hawley wins George W. Beadle Award from Genetics Society of America

Oct 15 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO—R. Scott Hawley, Ph.D., Stowers investigator and Dean of The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, has been selected to receive the 2013 George W. Beadle Award for his outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers, the Genetics Society of America announced today.

Moving toward regeneration

Aug 30 2012

Stowers scientists show how pluripotent stem cells mobilize in wounded planarian worms, to better understand stem cell behavior in regeneration and disease

KANSAS CITY, MO—The skin, the blood, and the lining of the gut—adult stem cells replenish them daily. But stem cells really show off their healing powers in planarians, humble flatworms fabled for their ability to rebuild any missing body part. Just how adult stem cells build the right tissues at the right times and places has remained largely unanswered.

Oversized fat droplets: too much of a good thing

Aug 28 2012

Stowers investigators define factors that regulate size of cellular fat pools

KANSAS CITY, MO—As the national waistline expands, so do pools of intra-cellular fat known as lipid droplets. Although most of us wish our lipid droplets would vanish, they represent a cellular paradox: on the one hand droplets play beneficial roles by corralling fat into non-toxic organelles. On the other, oversized lipid droplets are associated with obesity and its associated health hazards.

Controlling gene expression: how chromatin remodelers block a histone pass

Aug 27 2012

Researchers show how repressor proteins ensure accurate gene expression by thwarting histone exchange.

KANSAS CITY, MO—Two opposing teams battle it out to regulate gene expression on the DNA playing field. One, the activators, keeps DNA open to enzymes that transcribe DNA into RNA. Their repressor opponents antagonize that effort by twisting DNA into an inaccessible coil around histone proteins, an amalgam called chromatin, effectively blocking access to DNA by enzymes that elongate an RNA strand.

Ready. Get set. Repress!

Aug 22 2012

Stowers scientists manipulate the Set2 pathway to show how genes are faithfully copied.

KANSAS CITY, MO—The first step in gene expression is the exact copying of a segment of DNA by the enzyme known as RNA polymerase II, or pol II, into a mirror image RNA. Scientists recognize that pol II does not transcribe RNA via a smooth glide down the DNA highway but instead encounters an obstacle course of DNA tightly wound around barrier proteins called histones. Those proteins must be shoved aside for pol II to trundle through. 

Stowers Institute ranked among top three places to work worldwide

Aug 1 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO—The Stowers Institute for Medical Research clocks in among the top three institutions in the annual “Best Places to Work in Academia” survey by The Scientist magazine. The Stowers’ excellent research resources, as well as its management and policies, aimed to encourage an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment, were cited as key factors why scientists working at the institute not only love their work, but also their workplace.

Smell The Potassium

Jul 29 2012

Stowers scientists make a surprising find in study of sex- and aggression-triggering vomeronasal organ

Debate ends: everyone was right

Jul 20 2012

Stowers team reconciles puzzling findings relating to centromere structure

KANSAS CITY, MO—Scientists at the Stowers Institute of Medical Research have developed an innovative method to count the number of fluorescent molecules in a cluster and then applied the novel approach to settle a debate rampant among cell biologists—namely, how DNA twists into a unique chromosomal structure called the centromere. Knowing this helps explain how cells navigate the hazards of division and avoid the disastrous consequences of ending up with the wrong number of chromosomes.

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