Archive by category | Journal club

Top models

Top models

Speaking of mammals (see the end of my previous entry), not even rats and mice always cut it when it comes to providing good models of human disease. Take, for example, cystic fibrosis. There are a couple of mouse models of the disease (we have published at least one of them), but the community does not seem to be satisfied with them. It is therefore great to see a pair of papers in the JCI reporting on two new attempts at generating the ideal model of cystic fibrosis.  Read more

Retinoids, skincare and Matthew Wood

Retinoids, skincare and Matthew Wood

People with acne will find this JCI paper of interest. 13-cis retinoic acid can be used to treat acne, as it can kill human sebaceous-gland cells by apoptosis. The molecule is teratogenic, though, making it necessary to look for alternatives. As the mechanism of action of 13-cis retinoic acid is unknown, Amanda Nelson and her colleagues tried to elucidate it, hoping to identify new targets for the treatment of the bothersome skin condition. Using transcriptional profiling of skin cells from people with acne and cultured sebaceous glands, they found that lipocalin-2 was distinctively upregulated by treatment with 13-cis retinoic acid. They also found that the apoptotic effect of 13-cis retinoic acid indeed depended on the expression of neutrophil gelatinase–associated lipocalin (NGAL), the protein encoded by lipocalin-2; by using siRNA to lipocalin-2, they blocked the apoptotic effect, and by adding recombinant NGAL, they promoted it.  Read more

Understanding aging

Understanding aging

Three papers published this past Sunday touch upon different aspects of the aging problem. The first one appeared in Nature and is authored by Rui Yi and colleagues, who found that microRNA-203 promotes the differentiation of skin stem cells by repressing “stemness”. In stratified epithelia, stem cells located basally are crucial for self renewal. As these cells leave the basal zone, they differentiate and cease to behave like stem cells. What the authors found is that microRNA-203 is crucial for this differentiation process, leading the stem cells to exit the cell cycle. Mechanistically, this effect depends on repression of p63 expression, a molecule that had previously been shown to regulate stem-cell maintenance in epithelia.  Read more

Something for the weekend

A couple of days ago I was saying that the problem with blogging (at least for me) is lack of discipline. So I figured that one way to become a bit more disciplined, and hopefully post stuff that people will find of interest, would be to write a brief entry every time I come across a paper that I think is particularly interesting. I’m calling this category of entries “Journal club” for lack of a better name, as I don’t think I want to (nor could) write an extensive critique of the paper in question. Instead, the purpose of doing this is to flag a paper as something that is of interest to an editor of Nature Medicine, and let those of you who work in the relevant field do the detailed evaluation of the contribution.  Read more