UK National Institute for Medical Research

Plympton, United Kingdom

UK National Institute for Medical Research

Plympton, United Kingdom

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Vincent J.-P.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Fletcher A.G.,Mathematical Institute | Baena-Lopez L.A.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Year: 2013

When fast-growing cells are confronted with slow-growing cells in a mosaic tissue, the slow-growing cells are often progressively eliminated by apoptosis through a process known as cell competition. The underlying signalling pathways remain unknown, but recent findings have shown that cell crowding within an epithelium leads to the eviction of cells from the epithelial sheet. This suggests that mechanical forces could contribute to cell elimination during cell competition. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Kleinjung J.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Fraternali F.,King's College London
Current Opinion in Structural Biology | Year: 2014

We review implicit solvent models and their parametrisation by introducing the concepts and recent devlopments of the most popular models with a focus on parametrisation via force matching. An overview of recent applications of the solvation energy term in protein dynamics, modelling, design and prediction is given to illustrate the usability and versatility of implicit solvation in reproducing the physical behaviour of biomolecular systems. Limitations of implicit modes are discussed through the example of more challenging systems like nucleic acids and membranes. © 2014 The Authors.


Osten P.,Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | Margrie T.W.,University College London | Margrie T.W.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Nature Methods | Year: 2013

The beginning of the 21st century has seen a renaissance in light microscopy and anatomical tract tracing that together are rapidly advancing our understanding of the form and function of neuronal circuits. The introduction of instruments for automated imaging of whole mouse brains, new cell type-specific and trans-synaptic tracers, and computational methods for handling the whole-brain data sets has opened the door to neuroanatomical studies at an unprecedented scale. We present an overview of the present state and future opportunities in charting long-range and local connectivity in the entire mouse brain and in linking brain circuits to function. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Spence P.J.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Nature protocols | Year: 2011

The rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi shares many features with human malaria species, including P. falciparum, and is the in vivo model of choice for many aspects of malaria research in the mammalian host, from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes, to antigenic variation and host immunity and immunopathology. This protocol describes an optimized method for the transformation of mature blood-stage P.c. chabaudi and a description of a vector that targets efficient, single crossover integration into the P.c. chabaudi genome. Transformed lines are reproducibly generated and selected within 14-20 d, and show stable long-term protein expression even in the absence of drug selection. This protocol, therefore, provides the scientific community with a robust and reproducible method to generate transformed P.c. chabaudi parasites expressing fluorescent, bioluminescent and model antigens that can be used in vivo to dissect many of the fundamental principles of malaria infection.


Gilchrist M.J.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Genesis | Year: 2012

The Xenopus community has made concerted efforts over the last 10-12 years systematically to improve the available sequence information for this amphibian model organism ideally suited to the study of early development in vertebrates. Here I review progress in the collection of both sequence data and physical clone reagents for protein coding genes. I conclude that we have cDNA sequences for around 50% and full-length clones for about 35% of the genes in Xenopus tropicalis, and similar numbers but a smaller proportion for Xenopus laevis. In addition, I demonstrate that the gaps in the current genome assembly create problems for the computational elucidation of gene sequences, and suggest some ways to ameliorate the effects of this. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Briscoe J.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology | Year: 2013

The cloning of the founding member of the Hedgehog (HH) family of secreted proteins two decades ago inaugurated a field that has diversified to encompass embryonic development, stem cell biology and tissue homeostasis. Interest in HH signalling increased when the pathway was implicated in several cancers and congenital syndromes. The mechanism of HH signalling is complex and remains incompletely understood. Nevertheless, studies have revealed novel biological insights into this system, including the function of HH lipidation in the secretion and transport of this ligand and details of the signal transduction pathway, which involves Patched 1, Smoothened and GLI proteins (Cubitus interruptus in Drosophila melanogaster), as well as, in vertebrates, primary cilia.


Berry M.P.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Current opinion in immunology | Year: 2013

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a disease of considerable mortality and morbidity. Studies employing microarrays to derive transcriptional profiles of the host response during TB, which combined with data from experimental systems have highlighted a potentially detrimental role for type I interferons during infection, with important implications for vaccine and therapeutic development. In addition, these studies have provided candidate biomarkers which may advance diagnosis and treatment monitoring. These studies thus exemplify the promise of a systems biology approach to study complex infectious disease such as TB. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Stockinger B.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Meglio P.D.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Gialitakis M.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Duarte J.H.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2014

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), for many years almost exclusively studied by the pharmacology/toxicology field for its role in mediating the toxicity of xenobiotics such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), has more recently attracted the attention of immunologists. The evolutionary conservation of this transcription factor and its widespread expression in the immune system point to important physiological functions that are slowly being unraveled. In particular, the emphasis is now shifting from the role of AhR in the xenobiotic pathway toward its mode of action in response to physiological ligands. In this article, we review the current understanding of the molecular interactions and functions of AhR in the immune system in steady state and in the presence of infection and inflammation, with a focus on barrier organs such as the skin, the gut, and the lung. © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Prischi F.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Nature communications | Year: 2010

Reduced levels of frataxin, an essential protein of as yet unknown function, are responsible for causing the neurodegenerative pathology Friedreich's ataxia. Independent reports have linked frataxin to iron-sulphur cluster assembly through interactions with the two central components of this machinery: desulphurase Nfs1/IscS and the scaffold protein Isu/IscU. In this study, we use a combination of biophysical methods to define the structural bases of the interaction of CyaY (the bacterial orthologue of frataxin) with the IscS/IscU complex. We show that CyaY binds IscS as a monomer in a pocket between the active site and the IscS dimer interface. Recognition does not require iron and occurs through electrostatic interactions of complementary charged residues. Mutations at the complex interface affect the rates of enzymatic cluster formation. CyaY binding strengthens the affinity of the IscS/IscU complex. Our data suggest a new paradigm for understanding the role of frataxin as a regulator of IscS functions.


Goldstein R.A.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics | Year: 2011

When we seek to explain the characteristics of living systems in their evolutionary context, we are often interested in understanding how and why certain properties arose through evolution, and how these properties then affected the continuing evolutionary process. This endeavor has been assisted by the use of simple computational models that have properties characteristic of natural living systems but allow simulations over evolutionary timescales with full transparency. We examine a model of the evolution of a gene under selective pressure to code for a protein that exists in a prespecified folded state at a given growth temperature. We observe the emergence of proteins with modest stabilities far below those possible with the model, with a denaturation temperature tracking the simulation temperature, despite the absence of selective pressure for such marginal stability. This demonstrates that neither observations of marginally stable proteins, nor even instances where increased stability interferes with function, provide evidence that marginal stability is an adaptation. Instead the marginal stability is the result of a balance between predominantly destabilizing mutations and selection that shifts depending on effective population size. Even if marginal stability is not an adaptation, the natural tendency of proteins toward marginal stability, and the range of stabilities that occur during evolution, may have significant effect on the evolutionary process. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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