February 2013

The role of frataxin in the neurological disorder Friedreich ataxia

In a recent “Paper of the Week” in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, a team led by Elena Hidalgo at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain identified a frataxin homologue in the mitochondria of fission yeast.


Antipsychotics and their adverse metabolic effects

Alberto Canfrán-Duque and colleagues at Hospital Ramón y Cajal in Madrid compared the effects of three atypical antipsychotics with those of a first-generation antipsychotic on intracellular lipid metabolism in three human cell lines. The team’s in vitro results indicated that all four drugs reduced de novo cholesterol biosynthesis, which seems to fly in the face of all the negative metabolic issues experienced by patients.


Where do sperm cells get their energy?

For decades, researchers have been debating whether sperm cells get their fuel, molecules of ATP, from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation or glycolysis. In a recent Molecular & Cellular Proteomics paper, a group of researchers described a series of experiments that seem to suggest that, apart from the ATP derived from sugars, sperm may also get their ATP from fatty acids metabolized in mitocondrial and peroxisomal pathways.


Not for the faint hearted — but if you feel the calling...

In this month's mentoring column, Jim Keen offers some advice for those just embarking upon a life of academic research.


Accreditation 1.0 is here

Peter J. Kennelly of the ASBMB Education and Professional Development Committee writes, "Each student participating in the certification program will have the opportunity to obtain a national credential that is performance-based and independent of institutional name recognition."


The sphingolipid connection in muscle weakness

The metabolism of sphingolipids is subject to regulation and generates bioactive metabolites that mediate the cellular response to stress. Emerging research suggests that sphingolipids also influence the force of skeletal muscle contraction.


Great achievements in science and technology in ancient Africa

Sydella Blatch writes about the contributions to science and technology by ancient Africans. She writes, in part, "While the remarkable black civilization in Egypt remains alluring, there was sophistication and impressive inventions throughout ancient sub-Saharan Africa as well."


Science Olympiad and the ASBMB

If you’re visiting a college campus on a Saturday in March, you might be surprised to find it crawling with packs of 12- to 18-year-olds in goggles and lab coats, hurrying from one building to the next. These industrious kids aren’t early college students: They’re team members from Science Olympiad, one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math after-school programs in the country.

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