Researchers at the University of Warwick have uncovered the mechanism that allows plants to pass on their ‘memories’ to offspring, which results in growth and developmental defects.
· A hallmark of Parkinson's disease is the degeneration of a group of neurons in the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine (dopaminergic neurons). By introducing low concentrations of structurally-defined aggregates of alpha synuclein, a key toxic species in Parkinson’s disease, into single dopaminergic neurons, researchers from the University of Warwick have shown these protein aggregates open a specific channel in the cell membrane, reducing neuronal excitability. Furthermore they’ve shown that this can be partially prevented by pre-application of the commonly used anti-diabetic drug, glibenclamide.
Fish odour syndrome (trimethylaminuria) is a debilitating disease, in which the liver cannot break down the smelly chemical trimethylamine which is produced by enzymes from bacteria residing in the gut leaving people with a fish like odour. Researchers from the University of Warwick are paving the way to prevent the syndrome after a breakthrough in studying the enzyme in the gut which produces trimethylamine.
For young people with cystic fibrosis, lung infection with Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, is common and is treated with antibiotics in the hope that this will prevent a decline in lung function. However there has recently been debate over the role S. aureus plays in CF lung disease. Researchers from the University of Warwick have used a new model of CF lungs which could be used to make better decisions about future use of antibiotics.
Naturally occurring compounds in ash leaves could be linked to susceptibility of individual trees to the fungal disease ash dieback (ADB). But selecting trees with lower levels of these compounds and breeding for resistance could leave the UK ash tree population open to attack from invading insect pests in the future, according to scientists at the University of Warwick.