AIRE Deficiency Exposes Inefficiencies of Peripheral Tolerance Leading to Variable APECED Phenotypes

AIRE Deficiency Exposes Inefficiencies of Peripheral Tolerance Leading to Variable APECED Phenotypes

Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) is a rare, recessive disease caused by mutations in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene. A loss of function at the AIRE locus is widely known to induce autoimmune activation against host tissues due to lack of central tolerance during thymic T cell development. Failure to delete autoreactive T cell clones allows their release into the periphery, where they may proliferate and initiate an autoimmune response.By investigating the multiple ways AIRE function can be compromised, recent research has uncovered the steadfast mechanisms explaining how AIRE is expressed in mTECs, how AIRE transactivates tissue-specific antigens (TSAs), and how those TSAs are presented to T cells by both medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) and bone marrow-derived antigen-presenting cells.

Exploring Carry-Over Effects to Elucidate Attention Bias Modification’s Mixed Results

Author:  Mackenna Hill, Elizabeth Duval

Attention bias modification (ABM) has been shown to decrease self-reported symptom severity for those with social anxiety disorder (SAD). ABM may also decrease attention bias towards threat present in SAD. Currently, the most prominent form of ABM is a modified dot-probe paradigm that uses two affective/emotional faces to measure or train attention bias. Results are mixed in previous studies regarding the ability of ABM to alter attention bias. 

Mutational Analysis of Transcriptional Initiation in Bacteria

Author:  Anthony J. Eckdahl and Todd J. Eckdahl

Gene expression in bacteria begins with transcription, the process by which the base sequence of DNA is copied into RNA. Promoters contain the DNA structural and chemical information for the initiation of transcription by RNA polymerase. Many bacterial promoters have conserved DNA sequences for this purpose called the -35 region and the -10 region. We used a new system for promoter research called pClone Red to carry out mutational analysis of the -35 region of a high strength promoter.

Interview with a Lab Manager: Micah Simmons, UAB School of Medicine

Author:  Hriday Bhambhavani

Micah Simmons is a lab manager in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He works in the lab of Dr. James Meador-Woodruff, under whom he investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia.

Dieticians and Nutrition: Are you what you eat?

Author:  Madeleine Jepsen

For many people, "eating healthy" involves more than just avoiding excess fat and adding in plenty of fruits and vegetables. People of different ages, activity levels, and health backgrounds  all have unique nutritional needs. Whether it be a professional athlete, a businessman with diabetes, or a small child with an iron deficiency, dietitians play an important role in maintaining people's health by applying their expertise on food and nutrition.

Organs Without a Home: The Fascinating World of 3-D Bioprinting

Author:  Dana Lowry

This past February, the Wakeforest Institute of Regenerative Medicine accomplished the most advanced feat of tissue regeneration to date: they created a human ear, and kept it alive attached to the backside of a mouse. The ear, exhibiting human-like vasculature and cartilage development, is a promising beginning to the quest to create customized organs.

How Prenatal Exposure to Marijuana Affects Executive Functioning in Young Adults

Author:  Jennifer Charlicki

Every year, 211 million pregnancies occur around the world (WHO, 2007), and during pregnancy, one of the most commonly used drugs is marijuana (“Alcohol, drugs, and babies: Do you need to worry?” 2005). There has been an increase in the amount of pregnant women smoking marijuana to aid their morning sickness. However, marijuana use while pregnant has shown compensatory effects in how children prenatally exposed to marijuana perform tasks pertaining to executive functioning.

If You Give A Mouse A Movie

Author:  Adam Zhang

We have all heard Descartes’ famous quote “cogito ergo sum”—I think, therefore I am. But what does it mean to think? Or perhaps, what is it to think? To answer this question, the Allen Institute for Brain Science has released the Allen Brain Observatory, a collective, standardized “survey of cellular activity in the mouse visual system.” This first-of-its-kind open source database is unprecedented both in size and comprehensiveness, and it allows researchers all over the world to begin discerning the neural circuitry underlying how we experience the world around us.