Actin "pointers" for EM labeling

Single particle electron microscopy reconstruction can be a powerful tool for determining the structure of large protein complexes. One limitation of the technique is the difficulty in coming up with specific labels for the protein that can be visualized with EM. In a new paper in RNA, postdoc Beth Stroupe and coworkers show that the use of the actin-nucleating protein Spire as a cloneable tag allows them to nucleate actin filaments that then “point” to the location of the tag in the complex seen in EM, and applied the technique to their studies of the C complex spliceosome.

Rise and shine, little fly

Most animals sleep, but why they sleep and how the brain generates sleep is mysterious. In a recent study published in Neuron, postdoc Katherine Parisky and colleagues use genetic tools to manipulate the activity of neurons that control sleep in flies. Their results demonstrate that in the fly sleep is generated by GABAergic inhibition of a small cluster of peptidergic neurons within the circadian clock. Flies carrying mutations in this peptide, PDF, or its receptor, are hypersomnolent, similar to human narcoleptics who have defective signaling by the peptide hypocretin/orexin. These results suggest that the circuit architecture used to control arousal is ancient.

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Quantitative Biology Lecture Competition

Trisha Murray wrote:

The Quantitative Biology Program at Brandeis University, supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is now soliciting applications for an award for preparing an outstanding set of three pedagogical lectures on a subject at the interface of the physical and biomedical sciences. These lectures will be given at the Quantitative Biology Bootcamp to be held Sunday, January 11 & Monday, January 12, 2009. The award consists of a cash prize of $2,000.

Any graduate student or postdoctoral research associate currently at Brandeis is eligible to apply. The application packet should consist of short curriculum vitae and a one page outline of the three lectures. QB faculty will work with the successful applicant in preparing the lectures. Applications should be submitted before Monday, December 1, to Trisha Murray, either by campus mail (MS009), or via E-mail.

*An information session for potential applicants will be held Monday, November 10, Kosow Conference Room (2nd floor) 1 -2 pm.

Policy on postdocs

While searching the Brandeis web for something totally different, I stumbled across Brandeis’s stated policy on postdoctoral fellows. Might be worth a quick read if you’re a postdoc or faculty member.

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