Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

News

Amami spiny rat (Photo: Asato Kuroiwa).
28 Nov 2022
The Sox9 gene is upregulated in the absence of sex-determining Y chromosome and Sry gene in Amami spiny rat.
25 Nov 2022
A research group at the Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Science has revealed a new system that allows them to control the behavior of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, using two different animal opsins, a type of light-sensitive protein. The first opsin was expressed in the worms’ sensory cells responsible for triggering avoidance behavior, making the worms move. This opsin was found to be approximately 7,000 times more sensitive to white light than the commonly used optogenetic protein channelrhodopsin-2. Likewise, a UV-sensitive opsin was expressed in the worms’ motor neurons, causing the worms to stop when exposed to UV light and start moving again when exposed to green light. Both opsins tested can be switched on and off repeatedly without breaking down, making them robust tools for future research, including the field of drug discovery.
21 Nov 2022
Intestinal bacteria composition is crucial to driving the recovery of neutrophils counts in the blood of mice following treatments such as stem cell transplants or chemotherapy.
17 Nov 2022
Researchers led by Osaka University have shown that a molecule known as ATAD3A is essential for the movement of genetic material inside cellular substructures called mitochondria. Appropriate distribution of this DNA, organized into “nucleoid” structures, is key for the generation of energy by the “respiratory chain” protein complex. This study opens up opportunities for developing new methods to alter nucleoid movement and affect mitochondrial function, thereby providing potential therapies against mitochondrial diseases.
24 Oct 2022
Investigations in Japan have uncovered some molecular mechanisms behind mitochondrial dysfunction in chronic heart failure.
10 Oct 2022
A study led by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has revealed the association between rapidly fading antibody levels in some recovered COVID-19 patients and a high plasma concentration of a metabolite called glycylproline (gly-pro) and its producing enzyme.
27 Sep 2022
Scientists have pinpointed a protein in lysosomes that is involved in recycling a crucial fatty component of cell membranes to keep cells healthy.
18 Aug 2022
A research group led by Osaka University has found a new class of proteins in the red algae Cyanidioschyzon merolae that are involved in moving proteins across the membranes of chloroplasts – subcompartments that conduct photosynthesis within the cells of organisms such as plants and algae. These findings could be used to boost photosynthesis in several groups of algae that contribute considerably to marine biomass and are commercially farmed.
01 Aug 2022
A team of researchers led by Osaka University has found that mutations in the calcium channel protein RyR1 that confer susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia make the protein hypersensitive to heat, which triggers excessive calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum. Clarifying the mechanism by which calcium release is accelerated at an elevated temperature in patients with malignant hyperthermia may also provide important insight into how exertional heat stroke occurs under extreme environmental conditions.
30 Mar 2022
A team led by a Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo researcher has created a model to probe the role of emergent elastic fields in chiral molecular crystals
15 Mar 2022
A research group has revealed that amyloid-β (Aβ) detected in blood is secreted from peripheral tissues (pancreas, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, liver, etc.) that are sensitive to glucose and insulin. Also, that Aβ secreted from peripheral tissues acts as a regulator on pancreatic β-cells to suppress insulin secretion. The results of this study indicate that blood Aβ levels fluctuate significantly with diet, and special care should be taken when using blood samples as a diagnostic marker for Alzheimer's disease, such as taking blood samples during fasting.
10 Mar 2022
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a responsive molecular system that, through chemical reactions, inverses its chirality before becoming racemic.
Blooming flower
09 Mar 2022
Scientists from Hokkaido University and colleagues have identified a pathway that accelerates plant flowering in low-nitrogen soils — a finding that could help enhance agricultural production.
21 Jan 2022
Our brain maps out our body to facilitate accurate motor control. For a century, the body map has been thought to have applied to all types of motor actions. Now, a research group has revealed that the body relies on multiple maps based on the choice of motor system.
13 Jan 2022
The dengue virus alters mosquito behaviour in a way that makes it three times more efficient at transmitting infection.
08 Nov 2021
We have clarified at the molecular level the mechanism by which a microenvironment, a so-called niche that surrounds cancer cells, is formed in which stromal cells and immune cells are attracted at an initiation stage of breast cancer onset. A molecule called FRS2β is found to be critical for creating this microenvironment. The present finding is expected to be beneficial in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers at the initiation stage.
02 Sep 2021
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences how a protein molecular motor can chop off a piece of cell membrane. The constrict-and-cut mechanism resembles that of a ratchet motor, and is of importance in processes mediating the entry of particles into cells.
Arabidopsis plants used in one of the experiments during the study (Photo by Takeo Sato).
28 May 2021
Scientists from Japan, Europe and the USA have described a pathway leading to the accelerated flowering of plants in low-nitrogen soils. These findings could eventually lead to increases in agricultural production.
24 Feb 2021
A research team from the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has recently discovered that SOX9 protein is an essential regulatory factor of choroid plexus function that ensures the correct composition of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The finding, recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), has provided the scientific community a novel understanding to the molecular regulatory mechanisms behind the function of the blood-CSF barrier and lays the groundwork for developing novel therapeutic strategies for preventing and treating neurodevelopmental disorders.
09 Feb 2021
Tissue stem cells can self-renew and differentiate, supplying cells necessary for tissues at various developmental stages. However, detailed analysis in vivo is difficult, so the molecular mechanisms underlying the stemness of gastric tissue stem cells have remained a mystery. Here, by using organoids that mimic tissue structure and function in vivo and GeCKO screening to inactivate arbitrary genes, Alk, Bclaf3 and Prkra have been identified as genes regulating stemness.
07 Jan 2021
Factor-pooling by ribosomes caught on video using state-of-art high-speed atomic force microscopy technology.
16 Dec 2020
Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) researchers gain deeper insight into a cell membrane channel, with potential implications for drug development.
20 Nov 2020
A research team, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented the whole-genome sequence and analyses of the endangered whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest extant fish on Earth.
19 Nov 2020
A research team, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has identified a new metabolic pathway, in which microorganisms utilize single carbon (C1) gases (CO and CO2) as a feedstock.
The anomalies and criticality of liquid water
29 Oct 2020
Scientists at The University of Tokyo use a two-state model based on the formation of tetrahedral structures to explain water’s anomalous properties and the surprising liquid–liquid transition of water.
26 Oct 2020
Study confirms bats adopt multiple strategies to reduce pro-inflammatory responses, thus mitigating potential immune-mediated tissue damage and disease. Findings provide important insights for medical research on human diseases.
28 Sep 2020
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba demonstrate that the hypnotic and teratogenic effects of thalidomide are separable. Thalidomide is a medication with several different effects, one of which is promoting sleep in the context of insomnia. In a new study, researchers from the University of Tsukuba have discovered that thalidomide exerts its hypnotic effects through mechanisms distinct from those for the drug’s notorious teratogenicity. These are striking results showing how thalidomide induces sleep independently of its known effects on the teratogenic cereblon pathway. These findings could be helpful in developing novel thalidomide-like hypnotic drugs without thalidomide’s teratogenic effects. The study was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Phosphate accumulates in high concentrations in intermediate water in the entire subpolar Pacific region
07 Aug 2020
A group of researchers from three Japanese universities has discovered why the western subarctic Pacific Ocean, which accounts for only 6 percent of the world’s oceans, produces an estimated 26 percent of the world’s marine resources.
27 Jul 2020
Hokkaido University researchers have found a soft and wet material that can memorize, retrieve, and forget information, much like the human brain. They report their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
16 Jul 2020
A research led by the Department of Geography at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has revealed that the observed average moving speed (or translation speed) of tropical cyclones making landfall over the coast of China dropped by 11% between 1961 and 2017. These slow-moving tropical cyclones brought about 20% more local total rainfall on average when compared with fast-moving ones, resulting in greater flood risks in the region.

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