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Archive - Mar 2, 2015

ER Membrane Protein Complex (EMC) Is Key Factor in Biogenesis of Multi-Pass Trans-Membrane Proteins, Including Rh1; Loss of EMC Causes Retinal Degeneration; Finding May Contribute to Advance in Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex (EMC) has been shown to be a key factor in the biosynthesis and stable expression of multi-pass transmembrane proteins, and its loss is thought to cause retinal degeneration. The factor works especially for multi-pass membrane proteins, in the integration of polypeptides into the membrane and/or protein folding. Understanding the mechanisms underlying protein folding and trafficking may contribute to the large-scale, therapy-based production of target proteins. In 2013, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Randy W. Schekman, James E. Rothman, and Thomas C. Südhof for their discovery of how cells deliver thousands of membrane proteins to the right place at the right time. It is important for scientists to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular vesicular traffic. Associate Professor Akiko K. Satoh, in the Division of Life Science, Graduate School of Integral Arts and Science, Hiroshima University, Japan, and her collaborators have been investigating the mechanism of intracellular vesicular traffic using Drosophila photoreceptors. The team has previously shown that the protein Rab1 is involved in the transport of materials from the endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi, that glycosylphoshatidylinositol (GPI) synthesis is necessary for rhodopsin sorting in the trans-Golgi network, and that the Rab11/dRip11/Myo V complex is essential for post-Golgi transport of rhodopsin. Recently, Dr. Satoh’s group performed the genome-wide screening of Drosophila mutants, and identified 233 mutants that failed to synthesize and/or transport rhodopsin to the photosensitive membrane of the rhabdomeres.

ASHG and ReachMD Launch “Genetically Speaking” Audio Educational Series on Genetics and Genomics

On March 3, 2015, The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) ( and ReachMD ( announced today the launch of “Genetically Speaking,” ( a series of audio interviews designed to educate healthcare professionals on the application of human genetics in disease prevention and management. The series features peer-to-peer interviews conducted during the ASHG 2014 Annual Meeting and includes topics such as: Translational Genomics and Health Outcomes Research: What's Ready for Primetime?; Genomic Medicine's Emergence in Primary Care; Ethical Issues in Genetic Testing: the Who, What, Where, How and Why of Sequencing Information; Integrating Genomics Throughout Health Care Systems: Progress and Challenges; and Genetics and Uterine Fibroids: Understanding the Origins of Tumor Development. “One of our primary goals at ASHG is to develop a healthcare workforce that is genetics-literate and capable of interpreting and applying information in clinical practice,” said Joseph D. McInerney, MA, MS, Executive Vice President of ASHG. “We are excited to team up with ReachMD to produce and deliver peer-to-peer programming to healthcare professionals nationwide.” “Genetically Speaking” is co-produced by ASHG and ReachMD and broadcast on ReachMD's integrated online, mobile, and on air content distribution network. Content is accessible both on demand and through 24/7 radio streaming on ReachMD, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and iTunes digital platforms. “This series is an excellent addition to the ReachMD lineup,” said Matt Birnholz, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director of ReachMD.

How Birds and Mammals Survive Cold Winter Nights in Norway

Norwegian mammals and birds have many different methods of surviving long, intense winter nights. In a notice published on March 3, 2015, a biologist from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) University Museum reveals their secrets for survival. The author of the notice is Olav Hogstad, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus at the Department of Natural History at the NTNU University Museum. Dr. Hogstad made the following comments on the survival of birds and mammals during Norway’s long, cold winter nights. For birds and animals that must live out in Norway’s frigid winters, every second has to be spent finding enough food not just to survive the day, but also the long hard night. Not every creature manages to survive — it is not uncommon to find frozen birds in birdhouses after a winter cold snap. Some creatures solve this problem by being inactive. Bears sleep and hedgehogs, bats, and the northern birch mouse all hibernate between October and April or May. But not every animal has this possibility. Surviving the cold is most difficult for small creatures— large mammals and birds can go up to several days without food. Small creatures tend to have a large surface area compared to their total body size, which means that their bodies loose heat quickly when the cold sets in. They also aren’t able to store as much fat, which means less insulation and more heat loss. Surviving is all about preventing this heat loss. Norwegian game fowl, including wood grouse, black grouse, hazel grouse, and willow ptarmigan, all choose to find shelter in snow caves or burrows at night, and when they rest during the day. Snow insulates very well, so these small caves are significantly warmer than if the birds were to sleep in the open.