Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
The Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet is a nationally leading academic research center of high international standard where science comes first and foremost. CMB researchers publish regularly in the best international science journals, a result of a long-term in-house culture that promotes real impact and key breakthroughs.
Fibroblasts in the penis are more important for erectile function than previously thought
Regular erections could be important for maintaining erectile function, according to a new study on mice published in Science by researchers at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet. “We discovered that an increased frequency of erections leads to more fibroblasts that enable erection and vice versa, that a decreased frequency results in fewer of these cells,” says principal investigator Christian Göritz.
Researchers take new AI approach to analyse tumours
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and SciLifeLab have combined artificial intelligence (AI) techniques used in satellite imaging and community ecology to interpret large amounts of data from tumour tissue. The method, presented in the journal Nature Communications, could contribute to more personalised treatment of cancer patients.
“We realised that the interpretation of tumour images is similar to the interpretation of satellite images and that the relationships between cells in a tissue are similar to the relationships between species in ecology,” explains Jean Hausser, senior researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, who led the research. “By combining techniques used in satellite imaging and ecology and adapting them for the analysis of tumour tissue, we have now been able to turn complex data into new insights into how cancer works.”
Innovation occurs at the intersection of different worlds
In December, Kenneth Chien is leaving his professorship in cardiovascular research after ten years at Karolinska Institutet. He will now devote himself wholeheartedly to developing new mRNA therapies in the biotechnology industry.
Kenneth Chien is the third generation in his family, following his father and grandfather, to graduate from Harvard University. He entered research with two strong interests: cardiology and molecular science.
"At the time, cardiology was a very clinically oriented field with treatments more akin to plumbing. So my dream was to try to bring the advances in molecular science to the field of cardiology. The result was a fusion of new biotechnological treatments in the field of molecular cardiology," says Kenneth Chien.
New method is better able to map immune response and paves way for new treatments
A new method, developed at Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and SciLifeLab, can identify unique immune cell receptors and their location in tissue, a study published in the journal Science reports. The researchers predict that the method will improve the ability to identify which immune cells contribute to disease processes and open up opportunities to develop novel therapies for numerous diseases.
Jeff Mold, one of the principal investigators of the study and researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet, sees the new method as an important step forward.
Harnessing the power of healthy cells to suppress skin cancer formation
A team of researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Yale School of Medicine wanted to know what happens to mosaic skin upon injury. Do simple wounds or surgery enhance the skin cancer risk by expanding mutated cells even more as generally believed? The surprising answer is no, according to newly published study in Nature.
New technique developed for targeted protein degradation
A new publication in Nature Communications from researchers at The Department of Cell and Molecular Biology solves a long-standing problem by establishing a system that allows site-specific protein degradation within mitochondria, the cellular hubs for energy production and metabolism.
Understanding how cells work often requires manipulating protein function. Methods used to do this usually cause total ablation of protein function and cannot provide information about their specific roles within different cellular compartments. This is especially challenging for organelles like mitochondria. Addressing this, the researchers present, for the first time, a technique for targeted protein degradation within the mitochondria of yeast and human cells. They have also devised a way to control the induction of degradation, thereby allowing time-resolved analysis.
Gene expression influences the three-dimensional folding of chromosomes by altering the structure of the DNA helix
A new publication in Molecular Cell presents a collaborative study within the framework of the UTokyo-KI LINK program, headed by Camilla Björkegren from The Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet, Kristian Jeppsson and Katsuhiko Shirahige from The University of Tokyo.
The study shows that a protein complex named Smc5/6 binds DNA structures called positive supercoils. These form when the chromosomal DNA double helix folds onto itself due to overtwisting caused by transcription, which is the first step in gene expression. The study presents in vivo data indicating that Smc5/6 binds to the base of chromosome loops in regions that contain high levels of transcription-induced positive supercoils.
DNA tangles allow for targeted cancer therapy via topoisomerase drug treatment
A new publication in Science Advances from researchers at Karolinska Institutet shows how to use a specific cancer trait to improve treatment of pancreatic tumors.
DNA is like a long piece of string, and just like a string, it can get tangled. In cells, special proteins called topoisomerases are needed to detangle the DNA to properly use it again. These topoisomerases are the main research topic of Laura Baranello's lab from the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.
Can mRNA technology disrupt conventional approaches for discovering and validating in vivo new therapeutic targets?
Cardiogenic growth factors play important roles in heart development and in a new study published in the scientific paper Nature Communications from researchers in Kenneth R. Chiens lab shows how stem cell therapeutics and mRNA technology are beginning to converge offering major improvements in vascularization, survival, expansion, differentiation, and ultimately the function of human stem cell grafts.
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