Scientific News

<p>3D respresentation of a transfer RNA (tRNA). These molecules are crucial for the translation of genes into proteins and they are also the reason why the genetic code cannot exceed 20 amino acid. (Author: Pablo Dans, IRB Barcelona)</p>
2 May 2016

A study performed at IRB Barcelona offers an explanation as to why the genetic code, the dictionary used by organisms to translate genes into protein, stopped growing 3,000 million years ago.

The reason is attributed to the structure of transfer RNAs—the key molecules in the translation of genes into proteins.

The genetic code is limited to 20 amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—the maximum number that prevents systematic mutations, which are fatal for life.

The discovery could have applications in synthetic biology.

<p>Breast tumours have high levels of LIPG expression (F Slebe, IRB Barcelona)</p>
5 Apr 2016

In an article published in Nature Communications, scientists at IRB Barcelona reveal that breast cancer cells require fatty acids from the extracellular environment in order to continue proliferating.

<p>Microscopic structure of mouse testicle tissue (P.Mikolcevic, IRB Barcelona)</p>
30 Mar 2016

Scientists at IRB Barcelona discover a crucial protein for meiosis—the cell division process that gives rise to sex cells.

Without the RingoA protein, both male and female mice are sterile.

Published in Nature Communications, the results could pave the way for the development of male contraceptives.

<p>Drosophila trachea fragment. Externally, there is no difference between the Tr2 segment, where facultative stem cells are found, and Tr3, which indicates the rest of the cells in the tissue.  (N.J. Djabrayan, IRBBarcelona)</p>
11 Mar 2016

Scientists at IRB Barcelona and CSIC reveal that the combination of two molecular signals determines which cells that have already differentiated can regain their stem cell properties.

Their studies on fruit flies allow for advancements in the field of regenerative medicine and a better understanding of processes involved in cancer.

<p>GEMC1 is required for the generation of multiciliated cells. Images of mouse tracheas. The cilia (yellow) are clearly evident in the wild-type mice and absent in mice with no GEMC1. (Berta Terré, IRB Barcelona)</p>
2 Mar 2016

IRB Barcelona identifies GEMC1 as a master gene for the generation of multiciliated cells—cells with fine filaments that move fluids and substances—which are found exclusively in the brain, respiratory tract, and reproductive system.

Defects in multiciliated cells lead to ciliopathies—rare and complex diseases that are poorly understood and for which not all causative genes have been identified.

<p>Image of the larval tracheal main tube, stained in white to mark the chitinous ECM and in red to mark the cell-cell junctions</p>
22 Feb 2016

Researchers at IRB Barcelona and CSIC discover a mechanism through which the cells of an organism interact with their extracellular matrix
 

<p>In the picture, precursor cells of fly wing tissue, labelled for various proteins. This fly model has been used to perform experiments addressing the relationship between chromosome instability, aneuploidy, and tumorigenesis (Lara Barrio, IRB Barcelona)</p>
9 Feb 2016

Aneuploid cells—that is to say those with an abnormal number of chromosomes—are found in most human tumours.

A study conducted at IRB Barcelona on the fly Drosophila reveals how surviving aneuploid cells favour tumour development.

<p>The compound Cp28 (orange) binds to the EGF protein (green), a target in cancer. This interaction prevents EGF from binding to its receptor EGFR.</p>
3 Feb 2016

The molecules synthesized by Ernest Giralt’s lab at IRB Barcelona bind a key protein in cancer that has received little attention as a therapeutic target.

The long-term goal is to provide a new chemotherapy treatment.

<p>Tissue sample from healthy human liver (IRBBarcelona/IDIBAPS)</p>
11 Dec 2015

A study by IRB Barcelona and IDIBAPS reveals a therapeutic target to prevent the development of the many abnormal blood vessels that cause gastrointestinal bleeding—the main complication in cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis is the main risk factor for liver cancer. The same target may be the key to preventing and treating this condition.

Cirrhosis figures among the top twenty causes of death from disease worldwide.

10 Dec 2015

A comment by Cayetano González in Nature News & Views