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Wolfgang Link publish on Nature Chemical Biology

Wolfgang Link, CBMR researcher, published the article  “Immunology: Mind the immuno-connection gap” in Nature Chemical Biology. As part of the Springer Nature Content the article explore the way how, in the last years, biologic drugs modulate the immune system and have revolutionized the therapeutic landscape for several selected cancer types.  This new study reports an imagebased assay system to monitor cellcell interactionsidentifying small-molecule compounds with immunomodulatory capacity.

Read the article here.

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CBMR researchers publish article in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

Inês Araújo, Vanessa Machado, Ana Sofia Lourenço and Cláudia Florindo, CBMR researchers, published recently the article: “Calpastatin overexpression preserves cognitive function following seizures, while maintaining post-injury neurogenesis”.

This article is an open access publication accessible to readers anywhere in the world.

Know more about this research here.

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Research developed at CBMR can help to improve efficacy of chemotherapy

A group of CBMR researchers, led by Wolfgang Link, published in Nature Communications the results of an unprecedented research in the field of cancer. Recognizing the fact that intrinsic and acquired resistance to chemotherapy is a fundamental reason for treatment failure for many cancer patients, the researchers aimed to understand how cancer cells are, or become resistant, to the conventional therapies. At this article the researchers report that tribbles homolog 2 (TRIB 2) confers resistance to various chemotherapeutics by affecting critical cellular networks (PI3K and AKT) required by chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. TRIB2 does this by binding to a key protein in the cell, allowing increased cell division and repressing cell death.

Researchers also discovered that TRIB2 expression is very high in many patients and this results in an extremely poor clinical outcome. So, the study reveals a novel regulatory mechanism underlying chemotherapy drug resistance.

The discovery, which is completely unprecedented, allows to contribute to the development of new therapies for patients with high levels of this protein, helping to achieve more effective treatments and, consequently, increasing the survival rate.

The study, carried out by  Richard Hill, Patrícia Madureira, Bibiana Ferreira, Inês Baptista, Laura Colaço, Susana Machado and Wolfgang Link, also aroused the interest of Bayer, that, in 2012, gave financial support to the project.

This publication promises to revolutionize the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments and opens doors to the emergence of personalized medicine.

Read the article here.

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DCBM promote scientific photography exhibition

The Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (DCBM) inaugurated this month the exhibition “ArtDEVO_the hidden beauty of the embryo”,  an exhibition of scientific photography. The exhibition, which was previously at Museum of Natural History, in Lisbon, brings together works of several national researchers belonging to reference centers such as the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Champalimaud Foundation and Instituto de Medicina Molecular de Lisboa. Also on exhibition is the work of University of Algarve researchers – Tomás Azevedo (from CBMR – Centre for Biomedical Research) and Marco Campinho (from CCMAR – Centre of Marine Sciences).

The exhibition is open to the general public until 15th April and can be visited every day, from 9 am to 5:30 pm, at Building 2, Campus de Gambelas.

 

About the exhibition:

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Society for Developmental Biology (www.spbd.pt) to mark its 10th year anniversary.

Developmental Biology is the science that studies all the processes involved in the development of a being from fertilization until birth. Since a cell – the egg – which divides to give rise to many millions of cells that have to organize themselves, cooperate, compete, communicate and sometimes die to form a healthy multicellular organism.

Developmental Biology studies all this at the cellular and molecular level! It is from this research that arise countless gorgeous images that we now want to share with you!

The photos on display result from the work of our Developmental Biologists and were selected by an outstanding panel composed of scientists, artists, designers and communicators:

Alexandre Farto_VHILS, António Coutinho, Catarina Ramos, Gil Costa, Luís Barra, Manuel Costa Cabral, Maria Mota, Marta Vitorino, Mónica Bettencourt Dias e Sara Sá.

 

More information: http://www.museus.ulisboa.pt/pt-pt/art-devo

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i3S invites Cláudia Florindo to “9th Course on Optical Microscopy Imaging for Biosciences”

Cláudia Florindo, CBMR researcher, will be one of the teachers of the 9th Course on Optical Microscopy Imaging for Biosciences”. The miscroscopy couse will be held from 27th to 31th march, at i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação (Porto).

The 9th Course on Optical Microscopy Imaging for Biosciences is a comprehensive and intensive course focus on the basis of modern light microscopy and designed to post-graduate students, early career researchers and all people interested in to acquire skills in optical microscopy.

The course explores the principles of optical microscopy including fundamentals of light microscopy and optical contrast techniques; principles of widefield and confocal fluorescence microscopy; live cell imaging and advanced microscopy applications; “super-resolution” microscopy; and digital image analysis.

This course includes lectures taught by specialists in microscopy and digital imaging and practical sessions supported by the major microscopy companies.

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Clévio Nóbrega published three review articles in the field of polyglutamine diseases

Clévio Nóbrega, CBMR researcher and DCBM teacher, published, in the last months, three review articles associated with polyglutamine diseases:

  1. Motor Dysfunctions and Neuropathology in Mouse Models of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 2: A Comprehensive Reviewa review about all transgenic models that are used for the study of spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2).
  2. Proteolytic cleavage of polyglutamine disease-causing proteins: revisiting the toxic fragment hypothesis – a review about a pathological mechanism involved in the different polyglutamine ataxias.
  3. Unraveling the Role of Ataxin-2 in Metabolism – a review that provides, for the first time, clues to understand the role of ataxin-2 (which causes SCA2).

Know more about the research of Clévio Nóbrega here.

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Clévio Nóbrega invited to the editorial board of two well-known journals in the area of Neuroscience

Clévio Nobrega, CBMR researcher and DCBM teacher, was recently invited to integrate the editorial board of two well-known journals in the area of Neuroscience: Medicine, as academic editor in the subject area of Clinical Genetics and Neurology, and, on Frontiers in Neuroscience, as guest associate editor, in the subject area of Neurodegeneration.

Know more about the publications:  MedicineFrontiers in Neuroscience

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New electronic technology allows observation of electrical signals generated by cancer cells

CBMR and Instituto de Telecomunicações developed recently a partnership in order to create new electronic components that measure the electrical activity of cells of the nervous system. The new technology has been tested in the laboratory with cells derived from mouse’s brain tumors (astroglioma). These cells are tumor cells whose origin resides in the astrocytes, cells that exist in the nervous system and whose normal function is to give functional, metabolic and structural support to the neurons. Unlike the neurons, the astrocytes are “electrically silent”. The new electronic components allowed to measure discrete electrical signals (smaller than a micro-volt) produced by cultures of cells derived from brain tumors.

Until now the available technology has only allowed to measure signals larger than 10 microvolts in cell cultures. This new system allows the cells to be examined throughout the culture process directly on the electronic chips that detect the electrical signals. Cancer cells have a very intense metabolic activity, and as a result of this metabolism, acidify the environment that surrounds them (Warburg effect). The team of University of Algarve observed that when the cells are in an acid environment they generate electrical signal patterns in a cooperative way. When the cellular sensors of this acidification (acid-sensing ion channels) are blocked, the electrical activity of the tumor cells is eliminated.
These observations were only possible due to the innovation of this electronic system that evaluates the electrical activity of the cells.

With this research, new questions arise about the possible electrical signaling produced by brain tumors and their impact on brain physiology. If cells from a brain tumor can also generate electrical activity, these signals may interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and may eventually contribute to epileptic seizures, which often arise associated with brain tumors.
If possible, the development of targeted therapies may be very useful in reducing the impact of epileptic seizures on cancer patients, with a considerable improvement of their quality of life.
The research involved researchers of University of Coimbra (Profª Carmo Medeiros – Departamento de Engenharia Eletrotécnica e Computadores) and from Max-Planck Institute (Germany).
At the University of Algarve the team was led by Inês Araújo, CBMR researcher, and Henrique Gomes, researcher of Instituto de Telecomunicações

The study was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia through the project: Implantable Organic Devices for Advanced Therapies (INNOVATE) (PTDC/EEI-AUT/5442/2014).

See more here.

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Stem Cell Reports publish results of José Bragança investigation on cardiac development

In a study published in the latest issue of Stem Cell Reports José Bragança and his team demonstrated that the transcriptional regulator CITED2 – essential for mammalian heart development – plays an important role in the early steps of cardiac lineage commitment of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC). Of particular interest, the researchers showed for the first time that Cited2 and Isl1, a key transcription factor in the development of secondary heart field-derived structures and a marker of secondary heart field cardiac progenitors, have a privileged interaction at the genetic and protein levels. Indeed, they showed that Cited2 is directly recruited to the promoter of the Isl1 gene, and promotes Isl1 expression when overexpressed, while Cited2-depletion impairs Isl1 expression. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that Cited2 expression is enriched in cardiac progenitor cells originated from ESC differentiation, or isolated from mouse embryonic hearts. This team also demonstrated that the proteins ISL1 and CITED2 interact physically in vitro and ex vivo. Moreover, they showed that the ISL1-CITED2 interaction is synergistically functional, and promotes cardiomyocyte differentiation from ESC.

To achieve these results, that significantly increase the knowledge about ESC commitment towards cardiac cell lineage and highlights the importance of Cited2 in this process,  Bragança and his team used embryonic stem cells to better understand the function of this transcriptional regulator  in the cardiogenic processes.

Since there is a great interest in deriving cardiac progenitors and cardiomyocytes from pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic purposes, the results presented in this paper may be instrumental for the development of novel strategies heading in this direction.

Read the paper here.