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In brief

A Controlling Clock

The central control element of the circadian rythm, a protein named CLOCK, exhibits enzymatic activity.1 Not just any activity, but histone acetyl-transferase activity, which modifies chromatin's compaction, and therefore gene accessibility and expression. Through CLOCK 's enzymatic activity, chromatin compaction and gene expression could possibly be regulated by metabolism, growth factors, hormones or neurotransmitters. Paolo Sassone-Corsi and his team will now investigate whether this enzymatic activity is linked to cell division. This could help understand why the efficiency of certain anti-cancer drugs, which act primarily on cell division, seems dependent on the biological clock. 

1. M. Doi et al., Cell, 125: 497-508. 2006 

 

Contact:

> Paolo Sassone-Corsi, psc@uci.edu

 

 

Robotics

This June, the HRP-2 humanoid robot arrived in Toulouse, France. Its name stands for “Humanoid Robotics Project,” a key research program initiated by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). This particular platform was acquired by CNRS as part of the Japanese-French Joint Robotics Laboratory (CNRS, AIST). There are currently 14 HRP-2 humanoid robotics platforms, but this is the first to be set up outside of Japan.

 

Contacts:

> Jean-Paul Laumond, jpl@laas.fr

> Eiichi Yoshida, yoshida@laas.fr

 

 

A step against H5N1

An astounding 300,000 potential drugs for the treatment of the avian influenza virus H5N1 were tested in just one month (April 2006) by European and Asian laboratories, including CNRS, using the European EGEE enabling grid.1 The goal was to find new potential inhibitors of neuraminidase subtype N1, an enzyme located on the surface of viral particles, which catalyzes their release from infected cells, allowing the virus to spread. Scientists will now concentrate on the most promising compounds for further analysis.

1. www.eu-egee.org

 

Contact:

> Vincent Breton, breton@clermont.in2p3.fr

 


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