Stowers News

Hit by two hammers: how deficiencies in two genes synergize to halt formation of gut nervous system

Jan 31 2013

Genetic analysis by Stowers investigators has implications for a genetic disorder known as Hirschsprung Syndrome

KANSAS CITY, MO—Mutations in single genes can cause catastrophic diseases, such as Huntington’s Disease or sickle cell anemia. However, many conditions, including cancer, diabetes and birth defects are multigenic, arising from the collective failure of the function of more than one gene.

A diffusion trap

Jan 23 2013

Sticky spots on cell membranes hold onto the master regulator of cell polarity, helping to ensure that the regulatory protein accumulates in high enough concentrations to trigger cell polarity.

Stowers investigators’ study hints that stem cells prepare for maturity much earlier than anticipated

Dec 27 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO –Unlike less versatile muscle or nerve cells, embryonic stem cells are by definition equipped to assume any cellular role. Scientists call this flexibility “pluripotency,” meaning that as an organism develops, stem cells must be ready at a moment’s notice to activate highly diverse gene expression programs used to turn them into blood, brain, or kidney cells.

Understanding the cellular patterns of development

Dec 20 2012

New paper in Cell Reports finds that one key mechanism in development involves ‘paused’ RNA polymerase

KANSAS CITY, MO –For a tiny embryo to grow into an entire fruit fly, mouse or human, the correct genes in each cell must turn on and off in precisely the right sequence. This intricate molecular dance produces the many parts of the whole creature, from muscles and skin to nerves and blood.

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.


Subscribe to Stowers News