Stowers News

Planaria deploy an ancient gene expression program in the course of organ regeneration

Apr 10 2014

Stowers team develops novel assay to identify genes controlling pharynx regeneration in flatworms

KANSAS CITY, MO—As multicellular creatures go, planaria worms are hardly glamorous. To say they appear rudimentary is more like it. These tiny aquatic flatworms that troll ponds and standing water resemble brown tubes equipped with just the basics: a pair of beady light-sensing “eyespots” on their head and a feeding tube called the pharynx (which doubles as the excretory tract) that protrudes from a belly sac to suck up food. It’s hard to feel kinship with them.

Going global

Apr 2 2014

Stowers team reports genome-wide analysis of genes that drive cell division in a multicellular organism

KANSAS CITY, MO—In textbooks, the grand-finale of cell division is the tug-of-war fought inside dividing cells as duplicated pairs of chromosomes get dragged in opposite directions into daughter cells. This process, called mitosis, is visually stunning to observe under a microscope. Equally stunning to cell biologists are the preparatory steps cells take to ensure that the process occurs safely.

Could far-flung mutations in the genome activate cancer-causing genes? Ask an expert!

Mar 20 2014

Stowers Investigator will update cancer researchers on the consequences of DNA enhancer failure at the upcoming AACR meeting

KANSAS CITY, MO—Stowers Institute Investigator, Ali Shilatifard, Ph.D., will take center stage at a Meet-the-Expert Session at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) being held April 5th-9th in San Diego. The AACR meeting is the most important international forum for sharing breakthroughs in cancer research. This year’s event could attract over 17,000 participants from 60 different countries.

What makes memories last?

Feb 12 2014

Stowers researchers identify protein that initiates the formation of stable, long-term memories

Conserved nuclear envelope protein uses a shuttle service to travel between job sites

Feb 10 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO—Researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have glimpsed two proteins working together inside living cells to facilitate communication between the cell's nucleus and its exterior compartment, the cytoplasm. The research provides new clues into how a crucial protein that is found in organisms from yeast to humans does its work.

Fruit flies reveal normal function of a gene mutated in spinocerebellar ataxia type 7

Jan 31 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO—Disruptive clumps of mutated protein are often blamed for clogging cells and interfering with brain function in patients with the neurodegenerative diseases known as spinocerebellar ataxias. But a new study in fruit flies suggests that for at least one of these diseases, the defective proteins may not need to form clumps to do harm.

Next-gen reappraisal of interactions within a cancer-associated protein complex

Jan 15 2014

Application of global sequencing technology reveals how an activator of gene expression stays focused

KANSAS CITY, MO—At a glance, DNA is a rather simple sequence of A, G, C, T bases, but once it is packaged by histone proteins into an amalgam called chromatin, a more complex picture emerges. Histones, which come in four subtypes—H2A, H2B, H3, and H4—can either coil DNA into inaccessible silent regions or untwist it to allow gene expression. To further complicate things, small chemical flags, such as methyl groups, affect whether histones silence or activate genes.

Stowers researchers announce first genetic model of a human jaw fusion defect known as syngnathia

Dec 20 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO—The face you critiqued in the mirror this morning was sculpted before you were born by a transient population of cells called neural crest cells. Those cells spring from neural tissue of the brain and embryonic spinal cord and travel throughout the body, where they morph into highly specialized bone structures, cartilage, connective tissue, and nerve cells.

Stowers team links dampened mTOR signaling with the developmental disorder Roberts syndrome

Oct 4 2013

Studies in fish and cultured human cells provide insight into a human disease

KANSAS CITY, MO—Children born with developmental disorders called cohesinopathies can suffer severe consequences, including intellectual disabilities, limb shortening, craniofacial anomalies, and slowed growth. Researchers know which mutations underlie some cohesinopathies, but have developed little understanding of the downstream signals that are disrupted in these conditions.

Urgent! How genes tell cellular construction crews, “Read me now!”

Aug 13 2013

Stowers researchers show that DNA sequences at the beginning of genes—at least in fruit flies— contain more information than previously thought.

KANSAS CITY, MO—When egg and sperm combine, the new embryo bustles with activity. Its cells multiply so rapidly they largely ignore their DNA, other than to copy it and to read just a few essential genes. The embryonic cells mainly rely on molecular instructions placed in the egg by its mother in the form of RNA.


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