Month: September 2019

St. Jude is easing pediatric sickle cell disease patients’ transition to adult care

St. Jude has a long history of research in sickle cell disease. In fact, the first research grant ever received by the hospital was for the study of sickle cell disease. In 1983, a St. Jude patient with leukemia who also had sickle cell disease was the world’s first to be cured of the disease through a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. Patients with sickle cell disease have a genetic mutation that causes abnormally shaped blood cells. They’re not round but are shaped like bananas. They’re sticky and inflexible. When these cells stick to each other, oxygenated blood doesn’t flow...

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Chaperones: probing the structural secrets of the cell’s front-line protein protectors

Molecules called chaperones are the first line of defense against proteins going “bad” in cells. Normally, proteins are folded from an initial string-like shape into globular functioning enzymes and other cell components. But when a cell is under stress, proteins may unfold, misfold or form into toxic clumps. Such malfunction can give rise to neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions. Chaperones, found in all cells and all organisms, bind transiently to proteins to prevent such malfunctions. However, until our work, nobody had known the structural details of how a chaperone binds to its “client” protein. Published in Science, our latest...

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