Stowers News

New technique can locate genes’ on-off switches

Mar 13 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO—All the cells in an organism carry the same instruction manual, the DNA, but different cells read and express different portions of it in order to fulfill specific functions in the body. For example, nerve cells express genes that help them send messages to other nerve cells, whereas immune cells express genes that help them make antibodies.

In large part, this highly regulated process of gene expression is what makes us fully functioning, complex beings, rather than a blob of like-minded cells.

Researchers design “evolutionary trap” to thwart drug resistance

Feb 12 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO—Cancer is a notoriously evasive disease. It can adopt multiple identities, accumulating mutations or even gaining or losing whole chromosomes to create genetic variants of itself that are resistant to whatever drug is thrown its way.

This ability to evolve to changing conditions and new therapies can turn cancer care into a game of whack-a-mole, as clinicians hit cancer cells with one treatment after another only to have new drug resistant forms pop up.

Cutting the ties that bind

Oct 31 2014

Stowers team identifies “molecular scissors” required for successful chromosome separation in sex cells

KANSAS CITY, MO—The development of a new organism from the joining of two single cells is a carefully orchestrated endeavor. But even before sperm meets egg, an equally elaborate set of choreographed steps must occur to ensure successful sexual reproduction. Those steps, known as reproductive cell division or meiosis, split the original number of chromosomes in half so that offspring will inherit half their genetic material from one parent and half from the other.

New insight that "mega" cells control the growth of blood-producing cells

Oct 31 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO—While megakaryocytes are best known for producing platelets that heal wounds, these “mega” cells found in bone marrow also play a critical role in regulating stem cells according to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. In fact, hematopoietic stem cells differentiate to generate megakaryocytes in bone marrow. The Stowers study is the first to show that hematopoietic stem cells (the parent cells) can be directly controlled by their own progeny (megakaryocytes).

Misfolded proteins clump together in a surprising place

Oct 31 2014

Stowers researchers create new framework for protein aggregation under acute stress

KANSAS CITY, MO—Scientists at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have made a surprising finding about the aggregates of misfolded cellular proteins that have been linked to aging-related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. The researchers report their results in the October 16, 2014 online issue of the journal Cell.

How an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking head

Sep 15 2014

Sea lamprey studies show remarkably conserved gene expression patterns in jawless versus jawed vertebrates

“K-to-M” histone mutations: how repressing the repressors may drive tissue-specific cancers

Sep 3 2014

Stowers scientists establish Drosophila and mammalian models to study mutations found in pediatric brain tumors

KANSAS CITY, MO—In a cell’s nucleus, chromosomal DNA is tightly bound to structural proteins known as histones, an amalgam biologists call chromatin. Until about two decades ago, histones were regarded as a nuclear “sidekick,” the mere packing material around which the glamorous DNA strands were wrapped. Recently, however, biologists have developed a greater appreciation for how DNA/histone interactions govern gene expression.

Stowers researchers reveal molecular competition drives adult stem cells to specialize

Aug 6 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO—Adult organisms ranging from fruit flies to humans harbor adult stem cells, some of which renew themselves through cell division while others differentiate into the specialized cells needed to replace worn-out or damaged organs and tissues.

It takes two to court

Jul 28 2014

Stowers researchers identify functions of two classes of mouse pheromone receptors

KANSAS CITY, MO—Researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have identified the functions of two classes of pheromone receptors, and found pheromones crucial to triggering the mating process in mice.

Finding the target: how timing is critical in establishing an olfactory wiring map

Apr 10 2014

Stowers investigators reveal a developmental switch in targeting capacity of olfactory neurons.


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