Molecular Control of Neurotransmitter Linked to Autism Described
In two new papers published Oct. 15 in Science Signaling, researchers from Yale, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom have zeroed in on a molecular mechanism crucial to normal brain development, which, when impaired, causes autism-like symptoms in mice.
Gracheva Receives Presidential Early Career Award
Elena Gracheva, PhD, associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of neuroscience, has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The White House announced its complete list of recipients, including two additional Yale faculty members, on July 2.
Yale-led Study Reveals Biology of Leptin, the Hunger Hormone
In a new study, Yale researchers offer insight into leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in appetite, overeating, and obesity. Their findings advance knowledge about leptin and weight gain, and also suggest a potential strategy for developing future weight-loss treatments, they said.
New Strategy for Untreatable Kidney Disease: Targeting Cell Energy
The best hope for people with an inherited form of kidney disease that causes kidney failure is dialysis or a kidney transplant. But a study led by Yale researchers reveals a potential strategy for developing new drug therapies for these patients.
A synthetic approach to helping the immune system thwart infections
Yale researchers have developed a set of synthetic molecules that may help boost the strength of a key, virus-fighting protein. The protein, RIG-I, is an important sensor in the immune system of humans and other animals. It recognizes and responds to viral RNA by surrounding it, latching onto it, and launching the immune system into action. The Yale team, led by biologists Anna Pyle and Akiko Iwasaki, has designed molecules that jump-start the process. These synthetic, stem-loop RNA (SLR) molecules can be visualized as short cords with a knot at one end. The configuration enables the SLRs to bind with RIG-I molecules in a way that prompts an aggressive response.
Leptin hormone spurs body’s shift from burning carbs to fat
To keep the human brain supplied with energy when food was scarce, mammals evolved the ability to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat in order to preserve skeletal muscle that would otherwise be metabolized and converted to glucose. Scientists have long believed that the transition to fat metabolism was instigated solely by a drop in insulin. But a new study has identified leptin — a hormone made by fat cells — as a key mediator in this fundamental biological process.
Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes
In a new study, a Yale-led research team uncovers how a very low calorie diet can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes in animal models. If confirmed in people, the insight provides potential new drug targets for treating this common chronic disease, said the researchers.
Sleep or sex? How the fruit fly decides
Choosing between sex or sleep presents a behavioral quandary for many species, including the fruit fly. A multi-institution team has found that, in Drosophila at least, males and females deal with these competing imperatives in fundamentally different ways, they report July 28 in the journal Nature Communications.