Monday, September 28, 2009

Premature truncation of Talkative proteins causes Elevator Muteness in humans

C. Otilia and B. Sazo-Mari
Centro de Investigación de Proteínas Fútiles, Valencia, Spain

Talkative genes are highly abundant genes responsible of chatting behaviour and sensitivity to kissing in humans. Our previous studies on a cohort of gossiping subjects identified the tandem Talkative-A genes (TakA-Taka) as the major Talkative genes induced along mid-morning working hours in the staff from administrative and governmental premises in the Western Europe Mediterranean area. TakA-Taka genes are specifically expressed at the tip of the tongue in a stimulus-dependent manner, and fluctuations in sexual hormone levels play a key role in the precise control of the functions mediated by the TakA-Taka proteins. Transgenic honey bees (Apis mellifera iberiensis) overexpressing human TakA-Taka were able to use a novel communication code, pheromone- and dancing-independent, to inform to the colony about the localization of the more attractive and delicious pollen and nectar sources around. Unfortunately, TakA-Taka-overexpressing bees were non-viable at the long term, as a result of the never ending exchange of information between the worker females in their way to the flowers, which made impossible the maintenance and successful development of the hive. Here, we have analyzed the involvement of TakA-Taka in the etiology of Elevator Muteness Disease (EMD), a highly penetrant human disease triggered by the abusive use of elevators, which affects to an increasing percentage of the population in developed countries. When untreated, EMD may aggravate and produce severe misbehaviour manifestations, including spitting in public, repugnancy-to-the-others, and profound wishes of self-annihilation. Shot-gun DNA sequencing of the complete TakA-Taka genes from a random Spanish population revealed the existence of two groups of samples regarding the status of the TakA-Taka genes: group 1, displaying intact TakA-Taka genes; and group 2, displaying premature stop codons in any of the two TakA-Taka genes. Remarkably, an exquisite correlation was observed in the two groups in terms of elevator usage: whereas group 1 individuals claimed not using elevators at all, or only using them scarcely, individuals from group 2 declared being daily users of elevators, both at work and at home. Subjects that harboured TakA-Taka genes with stop codons at the very beginning of their coding sequences were interviewed for further familial- and life habits-background examination, but most of them did not have anything to say after the complementary salutations, specially when asked about their kissing preferences, and the study had to be aborted. Our observations indicate that the use of elevators is a strong risk factor for deleterious mutations at the TakA-Taka genes, and that premature truncation of the TakA-Taka proteins may be causative of EMD, likely by sudden interruption at the tongue’s tip of the thoughts elaborated in forspoken language at the brain cortex. Further experiments will be necessary to ascertain the putative relationship between the absence of EMD symptoms and the compulsive kissing desire suffered by many while in the elevators, under the stimulating proximity of other persons’ sensual lips.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A functional role for vault particles in body snatching

Lydia Vilanova, Nuria Delajara and José Conrado
Finca El Palmeral, Elche, Spain

Body snatching is one of the worst experiences that alive beings can suffer, since snatched bodies usually end up devoured by their predators, confined in dark holes has a food reservoir for insect larvae, or transformed in an unemotional new being with no memory of oneself. Examples of body snatching are multiple in the animal kingdom, from the cruel chase of preys by spiders and wasps to the nocturnal snatching of lambs by the ferocious wolf. In addition, human body snatching has been widely documented along the last decades. In fact, a retrospective search using the 1001-DVD-Science Fiction Movies online database has revealed that body snatching after alien invasions is a recurrent theme in the recent human history, with more than a dozen of different versions and remakes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers currently in the video market (for an example of title transgression, see ultracuerpos). However, serious studies addressing the molecular events that take place during the process of body snatching are lacking. Vaults are highly organized ribonucleoprotein particles present in eukaryotes, whose function remains enigmatic. Our previous three-dimensional analysis of vault particles led us to hypothesize the possibility that vaults could play a role as molecular coffins for dead, snatched bodies (see CurrRevol 14/05/09). Now, using refined last generation OJIMETRIXTM ultrasensitive technology, in conjunction with DVD additive visualization in a high-definition 40-inches TFT plasma screen, we have compared the shape of vault particles at 3.5 A resolution with the shape of pods and other devices used for body snatching in movies from the recent past:

As shown, the visual combination of the movie artefacts analyzed in our study, including a corn pod-like and a cocktail shaker-like snatching gadgets, rendered an image with all the structural and geometrical properties of vault particles, as recently reported (EMBO J. 2009 Sep 24). Our observations indicate that: 1/ body snatching pods have evolved in the recent years from a rough corn-like pod shape to a more efficient cocktail shaker-like structure, which may recapitulate early vault evolution in the Earth; and 2/ modern vaults are the result of the endosymbiosis of ancestral body snatching alien beings with terrestrial engulfing phagocytic organisms. We propose a functional role for vault particles as intracellular body snatching molecular devices. The possibility exists that those molecules within the cell with more physiologic relevance and stronger personality, such as phosphatases (see CurrRevol 19/06/09), could be snatched into the vaults during invasion by foreign agents and converted into boring, dull-specificity enzymes whose only finality would be alien self-propagation.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Aberrant overexpression of XTINK genes triggered the extinction of dinosaurs in late Cretaceous

T. Arzán, T. Rex, T. Existe and J. Weissmuller Jr.
Unidad de Extinción de Especies, Dinopolis Amusement Park, Teruel, Spain

Dinosaur massive extinction at the end of Cretaceous period is a favourite recurrent theme at educational institutions, Science museums, and story-telling colloquia (see, for instance, Jindetrés). The knowledge about the causes of dinosaur extinction moves from the absolute ignorance for most of the normal people to the catastrophic Geologist’s theory on the impact of an asteroid with the Earth crust a few millions years ago. In addition, a group of Biologists and Mathematicians defend as a reasonable hypothesis to explain this extinction the lethal unbalance between the short intelligence and the big size of most dinosaurs, when compared with the attributes of their smarter competitors, the archaic shrew-like mammals. Here, we have followed an un-biased molecular approach, based on the search for extinction-specific reptilian genes, to ascertain the genetic basis of dinosaur extinction. A comprehensive gene expression analysis was performed using mRNA samples from alive individuals from two current crocodilian species, American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), in comparison with archival samples from African crocodile specimens that had been slaughtered during the filming of Tarzan movies, several decades ago, while fighting for survival against this famous wild hero. Blinded OJIMETRIXTM analysis of the microarray chips, followed by in situ toothpick-substractive hybridization, identified thirteen highly related genes, XTINK-1 to XTINK-13, which were aberrantly overexpressed in samples from extinct crocodile specimens, in comparison with samples from alive animals. XTINK-13 gene was the more frequently overexpressed gene in Tarzan’s movies crocodiles, and a good positive correlation (p<0.000001) was found between the XTINK-13 mRNA overexpression levels and the number of stabs that the crocodile received from Tarzan during the fight. Measurement of random, non-selective interspecies variation of XTINK genes, using the XMELT algorithm, indicated that XTINK gene family diverged from its nearest gene ancestor about 60 millions years ago, which fits quite well with the time of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. As expected, transgenic mice expressing XTINK-13 were not reproductively viable, and repeatedly died of unfortunate incidents, such as lack of water or food in the cage, intoxication during routine fumigation of the animal house, or lethal mishandling by non-trained technicians. As a matter of fact, the functional experiments with XTINK-13 had to be interrupted, after several PhD students working with this gene abandoned the laboratory as a consequence of the concatenation of sad events attributable to very bad luck, including continuous deep punctures with biologically contaminated needles, embarrassing slips on dry floor, painful head bumping against half-closed glass doors, and severe electric shocks caused by their computer keyboards. We conclude from our studies that XTINK genes possess extinction prone-like properties, and propose that extinction of some reptiles, including dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous, may have been the consequence of aberrant and inopportune overexpression of XTINK genes along evolution.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FAZ: a novel franchising A-to-Z concept in scientific journals

In Diana and Jones
Inpress Forsure Press, Bollywood, India

Publishing in specialized scientific journals has become one of the major professional challenges for modern scientists, since the percentage of rejection of submitted manuscripts has risen dramatically along the last years. The abusing in papers rejection by scientific journals is known to sink the self-esteem and leadership abilities of senior researchers, making them unhappy, always-complaining grumpy people which do not adapt to live in society. Concomitantly, young researchers that do not get their work published after several years of intense dedication are candidates to suffer chronic personality disorders, severe depression, and sexual impotence. Because of the diversity of journal policies to reject manuscripts, the time of rejection can fluctuate from minutes to months after submission, making the life of scientists an insufferable, continuous waiting-for-rejection time in front of the e-mail entry screen of their computers. In addition, the capricious and variable rejection strategies used for the monitoring editors make the reading of the rejection letters self-exercises of practical empathy, with recurrent thoughts such as “let’s see what excuse is going to use this time the poor editor…”, which are often the preamble of serious and irreversible religious conversions by the scientists involved. Here, we present a franchising A-to-Z platform, FAZ, for safe and reliable publishing of scientific reports in due time. The FAZ journal platform is intended to tailor in scope and format, according to the manuscript you are ready to submit, each new journal you are ready to launch, from A to Z. More importantly, FAZ imposes pre-established editor and referee’s decisions, regarding your manuscript of interest, to the policy of the brand new journal, from immediate priority acceptance without changes to a two-week time positive response recommending some minor corrections in the discussion and figure legends. The franchising system of FAZ provides you full coverage to maintain your journal on-line as a publication from our virtual Editorial Press, Inpress Forsure, with more than thirteen hundred of thousands of specialized journals currently running. The personal choice of editorial board members among your best friends and colleagues, and the liberty to pick favourable, even virtual, referees for your report, gives you absolute control on the timely acceptance decisions of your journal for all your submissions. As an attractive option, Inpress Forsure offers you the HARD FAZ service: a rapid and high-quality service for full-color printing of hard copies of your FAZ journal, which can be used at your convenience as complementary gifts or as professional promotion items. To create your own FAZ journal, check with our administrative office for available journal names, from FAZ-A to FAZ-ZZZZ, send us your most irrelevant results in a suitable manuscript format and the full number of your non-expired credit card, and we will make the rest for you. FAZ journals are a WYWIWYP (what-you-write-is-what-you-publish) service to the scientific community worldwide. After PubMed rejected indexing our Journals, we are considering launching our own FAZ-PubMed in the near future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Severe Post-Congress Shock displays different symptoms in young and senior researchers

Venue McFarland and Ke Liu
Hospital for Congress-Induced Neurodegenerative Diseases. Toronto Conference Center, Canada.

Attending to scientific congresses, workshops, conferences and meetings usually provokes in delegates severe neurological disorders that become manifest a posteriori. These include bipolar behavior, poor cognition, loss of concentration and awareness, and general mental collapse. The overall syndrome is known as Post-Congress Shock (PCS). Although it is well known that PCS is rather common in attendees to Molecular Biology congresses, few serious studies have been made to define the critical parameters that characterize the disease and/or its prevalence. Here we present a study on the timing and severity of appearance of PCS-related symptoms in fifty ambulatory patients that attended to a particular meeting on Genetics, Molecular Biology and Genomics. In order to correlate the progress of the disease to the stage of the patient’s career and the consumption of alcohol during the meeting, we chose thirty graduate students or postdocs (hereafter referred as ‘young researchers’) and twenty senior scientists (hereafter referred as ‘principal investigators’ or PIs). Furthermore, we divided the PI population into compulsive alcohol consumers during the meeting (over eight pints of beer or six spirituous drinks per day) and non-drinkers (below that threshold). Unfortunately, a non-drinker young researcher cohort could not be recruited because of lack of volunteers. To evaluate the performance of young researchers suffering PCS, the wrong-tip test (WTT) was performed. This test consists in checking the times that students try to insert the wrong tips to automatic pipettes (e. g., yellow tips to the P1000 pipette or blue tips to a P100). Over a control population (n=10) that had not attended the congress, delegates failed to get the right tip in the WTT 10 times more frequently the first day after the congress, and it took 15 days for them in average to drop WTT values to levels comparable to those of the control population. A particular individual was diagnosed with chronic PCS, because three months after the beginning of the study he maintained a 20x WTT failure rate. He was kept out of the study to avoid bias, because he claimed to have felt sexual attraction towards a Swedish female delegate during the congress. PIs were followed for three months after-meeting, and their scientific performance was quantitatively evaluated by the keyboard hit index (KHI). The index is measured by introducing a counter in their personal computers that scores the times that keys in their computer keyboards are hit per day. KHI figures dramatically rose immediately after the meeting in non-drinkers. We call this stage ‘after-meeting euphoria’. Three days after the congress, KHI dropped dramatically to a point of crisis. Often, at this stage, many keys were hit at a time and held for hours, implying that the PI had fallen asleep on the keyboard. From that point on, there was a gradual recovery of KHI to control levels. Interestingly, PI drinkers showed only modest changes in their KHI as compared to non-drinkers.

Our study brings the important conclusion that failure to get drunk in the meetings does not affect the overall scientific performance of senior researchers, but rather triggers an early frustrated-hangover response. On the other hand, our results indicate that young researchers develop an acute and strong form of PCS syndrome in response to alcohol consumption at meetings, which may lead to an intolerable wasting of laboratory consumables at the short term and to poor scientific yields during the rest of their career.