Health

Tie-Dye Fly

It may look like a poster for the Grateful Dead, but these Day-Glo rainbow stripes belong to a fruit fly. Duke biologist Amy Bejsovec is studying the patterns that emerge during a fruit fly's development from egg to adult -- information that may help treat diseases that arise when normal development goes awry. The red stripes stain a protein called Wingless, which helps cells grow and multiply and develop into different cell types. Blue marks cell nuclei.

Silencing the Sentry

A mast cell from the immune system keeps a ready supply of signaling molecules (green) so that it can sound the alarm and call other immune system cells to the fight when it detects a pathogenic invader. But the bacteria Salmonella (red) has been found to move into the mast cell and jam its ability to release these signaling molecules, effectively silencing the alarm and letting the invader spread relatively unimpeded.  A Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) team led by Soman N.

Night Lights

Assistant professor of biochemistry Michael Boyce and his colleagues have developed a new method for detecting one relatively short-lived but crucial cell signaling event: the attachment of a particular sugar, called GlcNAc, onto proteins inside the cell. Two protein samples are labeled through their GlcNAc sugars with green and red fluorescent dyes, and then separated on a gel.

Bad Seeds

A false color scanning electron micrograph shows infectious spores of Cryptococcus fungi (purple) decorating the surface of the specialized structure where they are produced by meiotic cell division. Airborne on wind currents, these spores are small enough to penetrate deeply into human airways to cause an initial lung infection that spreads via the bloodstream to infect the brain.

Filbert

Weighing a little less than two cubes of sugar when he was born at the Duke Lemur Center in June, male mouse lemur Filbert is one of more than 40 grey mouse lemurs living at Duke. If all goes well, Filbert could live to be 10-15 years old in captivity. Grey mouse lemurs are nocturnal animals that develop dementia-like symptoms similar to human Alzheimer’s as they age.

Deadly Emoticons

Living connective tissue cells called fibroblasts taken from an embryonic mouse glow under the microscope to indicate that the CALM-AF-10 gene is active within them. Duke pediatric cancer researcher Daniel Wechsler's team has identified the gene as part of a signaling sequence that can make cells immortal and lead to aggressive forms of leukemia. The discovery, which was featured on the cover of the journal Blood in June, points to a possible new therapeutic attack on leukemia.

 

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