Archive for the ‘Molecular’ Category

5-hydroxy-methyl CpGs (5-hmCs) were first discovered in 2009 and shown to be enriched in the brain, but remain a mysterious epigenetic mark, despite intriguing functional findings such as: environmental enrichment’s reduction of it, MeCP2’s preference for 5mc over 5hmc, and it’s possible role as an intermediate in demethylation. This new technique will aid their characterization […]

Whenever I hear a friend talk about how they only sleep 6 hours a night—I feel a combination of pity (that must be rough) and annoyance (how can they do that to themselves), but reading up on the genetics of sleep maybe I should be feeling jealousy (since I need at least 8 solid hours). […]

Detecting 5-hmCs 5-hydroxymethylcytosines (5-hmC) went undiscovered because they showed up like other 5-methoxycytosines through bisulfide sequencing. The neuroscientists behind a new study in Nature Neuroscience profiles 5-hmC across development using T4 bacteriophage B-glucosyltransferase to transfer an engineered glucose-azide moiety onto the the hydroxyl of 5-hmC. This moiety was then detected and used to map 5-hmCs […]

Details of the weight loss A new study published in the NEJM enrolled 50 overweight or obese patients (BMIs between 27 and 40) in a 10-week 500 calorie diet of Optifast VLCD and low starch vegetables. As might be expected with such a rigorous diet 16 dropped out or did not lose the expected weight […]

There is a belief in the drug community that the war on drugs prevents good research from being done on drug use. While I agree there is a scarcity of research on the potential uses of many abused drugs or how they alter states of consciousness we really do know an amazing amount about what […]

Just saw Paul Garrity present an interesting story on the function and evolution of TRPA1–a chemical and temperature sensitive cation channel of the transient receptor potential family. He initially discovered TRPA1’s role in thermosensation using an RNAi screening of drosophila larvae on a thermal gradient. As small ectotherms (a term which essentially means cold-blooded), drosophila […]