Nervous scoop

An action shot of the protein Scp1, which plays a crucial role in the development of the nervous system has been obtained using crystallography by researchers in the US. Their structure could provide drug designers with a template for creating small molecule inhibitors of this protein that would be useful in neurological research.

Joseph Noel and Samuel Pfaff of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and colleagues there and at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla explain that a network of signalling molecules controls embryonic stem cell differentiation. Controlling the controllers might allow scientists to nudge embryonic stem cells into becoming specific cell types, which would be useful in basic research and for potential therapies.

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