January 2017

Bio-Synthesis Newsletter - January 2017




Is Albuminuria a cause for dementia?

HSA_SurfaceYes, this appears to be the case. A recent study suggests that albuminuria, a condition where people have protein in their urine, is associated with a higher risk to develop cognitive impairment or dementia. Albumin is a major plasma protein circulating in the blood. Normally, healthy people have only small traces of albumin in their urine whereas people with kidney disease have larger amounts in their urine. A dip-stick method is available for the detection of albumin in small urine samples.

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Proline peptides and cis-trans isomerization

BradikininThe peptide bond is essentially planar and mostly observed in the trans configuration. However, cis peptide bonds are present in peptides containing proline. Proline can exist in both cis and trans conformations. The isomerization of proline is known to play a role in protein folding. Capillary electrophoresis, thin-layer chromatography, NMR and HPLC have been used to study cis-trans isomerization in proline peptides. More recently temperature-jump relaxation HPLC, dynamic on-column reaction HPLC and FAIMS mass spectrometry were used to analyze cis-trans isomerization of proline peptides more accurately. Synthetic bradykinin is a good example of a proline peptide which can exist in multiple conformations in solution.

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Methylcytosine and hydroxymethylcytosine can be identified simultaneously

Methylated_Cytosine Methylation of cytosine in genomic DNA has a major role in many biological processes. Aberration of DNA methylation is known to have a detrimental effect on development. Kawasaki et al. have recently developed a method that allows simultaneous identification of methylcytosine, hydroxymethylcytosine, and unmodified cytosine at single base resolution. The researchers named their method “Enzyme-Assisted Identification of Genome Modification Assay (EnIGMA). Since hydroxymethylation is thought to play a role in genome maintenance and imprinting, this method is expected to clarify the function of these modifications in epigenetic regulation in embryonic stem (ES) Cells.

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B2 RNA and stress response

9A_RNA B2 SINE RNA is a specific inhibitor of RNA polymerase II expressed in rodents. B2 repeat RNA associates with RNA II polymerase during heat shock and represses its action. The polymerase is transiently repressed. Only 51 nucleotides from the 3' half are reported to be sufficient for binding and repression. A specific interaction between the polycomb protein EZH2 and B2 RNA results in RNA cleavage. This cleavage relieves transcriptional suppression and triggers the stress response. In humans, Alu repeat RNAs appear to play a similar role.

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