Key regulator of male fertility identifed


When it comes to male reproductive fertility, timing is everything. Now scientists are finding new details on how disruption of this timing may contribute to male infertility or congenital illness. Researchers are identifying the key molecular and genetic switch that activates production of healthy male sperm — but only when the time is right.

A fat-regulating enzyme could hold the key to obesity, diabetes, cancer, other diseases


It had already been known that the enzyme known as phosphatidic acid phosphatase plays a crucial role in regulating the amount of fat in the human body. Controlling it is therefore of interest in the fight against obesity. But scientists have now found that getting rid of the enzyme entirely can increase the risk of cancer, inflammation and other ills.

Carbohydrates may be the key to a better malaria vaccine


An international research team has shown for the first time that carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play a critical role in malaria’s ability to infect mosquito and human hosts. The discovery also suggests steps that may improve the only malaria vaccine approved to protect people against Plasmodium falciparum malaria — the most deadly form of the disease.

Zinc transporter key to fighting pancreatic cancer and more


Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease harbor significantly higher levels of zinc and iron in their brains than healthy patients. Those with pancreatic cancer have an unusually high amount of a specific zinc transporter. So, controlling those levels could be an effective plan of attack against these diseases and others, say researchers.

The point of release is the key: Identification of a key molecule for the neurotransmitter release in synapses


The contact areas between nerve cells are called synapses. What happens there lies at the heart of communication between nerve cells. Communication starts with the release of chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters at these synapses. Neurotransmitter-containing synaptic vesicles are involved in this release process, and these vesicles fuse with the cell membrane. This fusion occurs at a specific location within the synapse rather than just anywhere at random. Scientists have succeeded in identifying the molecule, which determines where in the synaptic gap neurotransmitters are released.