Scientists in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division (MBIB) have produced detailed 3-D visualizations that show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material at the center of cells, providing a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture. A team of researchers, led by Carolyn Larabell, MBIB faculty scientist and professor at UCSF, have mapped the reorganization of genetic material that takes place when a stem cell matures into a nerve cell using X-ray imaging tools in the National Center for X-ray Tomography at the Advanced Light Source. The results could help us understand how patterning and reorganization of DNA-containing material called chromatin in a cell’s nucleus relate to a cell’s specialized function as specific genes are activated or silenced. Read more at the Berkeley Lab News Center.
Whenever sugars are mentioned in relation to health and disease, it is in the context of metabolism and gaining calories. However, sugars have many other functions in our physiology and are found on cell surfaces and in extracellular matrix (ECM), forming an integral part of tissue microenvironment. Here they bind to their partner ligands, known as lectins, forming lectin-sugar interactions that have been known to play important roles in physiological and pathological contexts. In an article published and featured on the cover of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) last week, the laboratory of Distinguished Scientist Mina Bissell in the Biological Systems and Engineering Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in collaboration with the research group of Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, now at the Stanford University Department of Chemistry, report exciting data and new insights into the roles a lectin, Galectin-1 (Gal-1), plays in mammary gland branching morphogenesis. This work also sheds some light on breast cancer progression.