Early in the development of sperm, a strange event happens: the X and Y chromosomes condense into tight packages and are sequestered away from the other 44 human chromosomes. If any part of this process goes awry, the cells cannot mature into sperm. Researchers in the College of Biological Sciences have now identified an important link in this process — a little-known protein called ATF7IP2.
Yasuhisa Munakata, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Biological Sciences, has received a grant to study how egg cells in the ovary change over time. “Our goal is to understand female reproductive aging, and why fertility rapidly declines starting in the mid-30s,” says Satoshi Namekawa, a professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, in whose lab Munakata works.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and only 12% of patients survive five years after being diagnosed. Severe pancreatic cancer is associated with metastasis, and it is this spread of secondary tumors that usually causes death, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms that drive metastasis.
Neutrophils, the primary foot soldiers of the immune system, swarm to sites of infection and inflammation by following breadcrumb pathways made up of signaling molecules. But the human body is a complex place, and neutrophils are often simultaneously bombarded with multiple signals, some of which are more important than others. For example, signals of infection or tissue damage require more urgent attention than signals produced by other immune cells.
Cancer often starts with the reshuffling of DNA—akin to scrambling the pages of a dictionary. Exactly how this happens has long been a mystery. But researchers in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences have now arrived at one promising explanation.
The problem seems to happen at a critical moment: when the cell is fixing a broken string of DNA. This repair process, called homologous recombination, can go awry, says Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, a Distinguished Professor and chair in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
For most people, contracting Zika virus, a flavivirus carried by mosquitos, is akin to getting any mildly inconvenient virus.
You might get a fever and a rash, and it's gone in a few days. But for pregnant people, there is a roughly 4% chance that a bite from a mosquito with Zika virus could have life-altering effects on developing fetuses in the form of microcephaly, a neurological condition that indicates an under-developed brain.
2023 signals the 101st year of microbiology at UC Davis. From the discipline’s humble beginnings as a one-person research and teaching unit in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, microbiology at Davis has grown and diversified.
An artificial intelligence model has successfully identified coronaviruses capable of infecting humans, out of the thousands of viruses that circulate in wild animals. The model, developed by a team of biologists, mathematicians and physicists at the University of California, Davis, could be used in surveillance for new pandemic threats. The work was published June 8 in Scientific Reports.
Priya Shah, who holds appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and the Department of Chemical Engineering, is deciphering the behavior of the Zika virus on animal cells to delve into the possibilities for mitigating the sickness in humans.
"My lab is really interested in how viruses hijack cells and turn them into little, tiny viral factories," said Shah.
A new study shows exactly how the gene BRCA2, linked to susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer, functions to repair damaged DNA. By studying BRCA2 at the level of single molecules, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have generated new insights into the mechanisms of DNA repair and the origins of cancer. The work was published the week of March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.