Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Aggiornato: 50 min 38 sec fa
Many rare species play unique ecological roles that make them irreplaceable, even in the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, an international team has found. Based on data from three very different ecosystems (coral reefs, alpine meadows and tropical forests) scientists from the CNRS, University de Montpellier 2, INRA, EPHE and IRD discovered that unique ecological functions (such as exceptional resistance to fire or drought) are mostly characteristic of rare species and are therefore particularly vulnerable to the erosion of biodiversity. These functions could be crucial in case of major environmental change. The study, published on May 28th in
A new way of tackling cancer and predicting tumor virulence are has been reported by a team of scientists from the Institut Albert Bonniot de Grenoble including researchers from CNRS, Inserm and Université Joseph Fourier, in collaboration with clinical physicians and anatomopathologists from the CHU de Grenoble, with the support of the Institut National du Cancer, the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer and the Fondation ARC pour la Recherche sur le Cancer. The scientists have shown that, in all cancers, an aberrant activation of numerous genes specific to other tissues occurs. For example, in lung cancers, the tumorous cells express genes specific to the production of spermatozoids, which should be silent. This work, published on 22 May 2013 in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that identifying the genes that are abnormally activated in a cancer makes it possible to determine its virulence with great accuracy. This study represents an original concept that will allow cancer patients to be given an accurate diagnosis as well as personalized care.
Researchers from CNRS, Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier and IRD have elucidated new molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to visceral leishmaniasis, a serious parasitic infection. They have shown that dectin-1 and mannose receptors participate in the protection against the parasite responsible for this infection, by triggering an inflammatory response, while the DC-SIGN receptor facilitates the penetration of the pathogen and its proliferation in macrophages
Although excessive quantities of cholesterol in the body are known to have adverse effects on health, researchers might polish up its reputation via one of its derivatives. The research team from Inserm and the CNRS led by Marc Poirot and Sandrine Silvente-Poirot at the "Centre de recherche en cancérologie de Toulouse" (Inserm / CNRS / Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier), has not only discovered a new molecule derived from cholesterol (known as dendrogenine A), but has also provided proof in mice that this molecule has anti-cancer properties.
This work has been published in the journal
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and CNRS, have identified a human-specific factor involved in the replication of Chikungunya virus which accounts for the species specificity of this virus. Chikungunya virus is an emerging virus that in 2005 caused, for the first time, an outbreak in La Réunion island, a French overseas district where more than 30% of the population was infected, and has recently emerged in temperate regions of Europe. The identification of this new host factor enriches our understanding of the molecular bases of Chikungunya virus infection, which were characterized so far. This work also paves the way for the development of a more relevant humanized animal model to better understand the pathophysiology of infection. This research has been published online on April 26, at the European Molecular Biology Organization reports (EMBO reports).
To obtain very-high-resolution 3D images of the cerebral vascular system, a dye is used that fluoresces in the near infrared and can pass through the skin. The Lem-PHEA chromophore, a new product outclassing the best dyes, has been synthesized by a team from the Laboratoire de Chimie (CNRS / ENS de Lyon / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1). Conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Institut des Neurosciences (Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble / CEA / Inserm / CHU) and the Laboratoire Chimie et Interdisciplinarité: Synthèse, Analyse, Modélisation (CNRS / Université de Nantes), this work has been published online in the journal
How are molecular interactions in plant cell walls and the overall plant structure related? Scientists have just discovered the role of a protein that controls cellulose synthesis. It
appears that plant stems twist by default. Research carried out by a team of scientists from INRA, CNRS, the ENS de Lyon and the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in tandem with German scientists sheds light on the basic phenomena that govern plant shape and which could be applied to the fields of biomaterials or predictive biology. The results were published in the 25 April 2013 issue of
Congenital amusia is a disorder characterized by impaired musical skills, which can extend to an inability to recognize very familiar tunes. The neural bases of this deficit are now being deciphered. According to a study conducted by researchers from CNRS and Inserm at the Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon (CNRS / Inserm / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), amusics exhibit altered processing of musical information in two regions of the brain: the auditory cortex and the frontal cortex, particularly in the right cerebral hemisphere. These alterations seem to be linked to anatomical anomalies in these same cortices. This work, published in May in the journal
Grenoble, 26 April 2013: Scientists have determined the temperature near the Earth's centre to be 6000 degrees Celsius, 1000 degrees hotter than in a previous experiment run 20 years ago. These measurements confirm geophysical models that the temperature difference between the solid core and the mantle above, must be at least 1500 degrees to explain why the Earth has a magnetic field. The scientists were even able to establish why the earlier experiment had produced a lower temperature figure. The results are published on 26 April 2013 in
Compulsive gamblers suffer from an optimism bias that modifies their subjective representation of probability and affects their decisions in situations involving high-risk monetary wagers. This is the conclusion drawn by Jean-Claude Dreher's research team at the CNC (Centre de Neurosciences Cognitives, CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1). These findings, published in the May print edition of
Nearly all the water present in Jupiter's upper atmosphere today comes from the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which collided with the planet in July 1994. Using ESA's Herschel telescope, the discovery was made by an international team of astronomers led by a researcher from the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux (CNRS/Université Bordeaux 1). It is published in the journal
The polar schooner Tara will depart from Lorient on May 19, 2013 for a new expedition:
What is the origin of the volatile hydrocarbons, other than methane, present in city air? Mainly gasoline-powered vehicles
Babies have long been considered as beings with limited skills and behaviors that are principally automatic and of a reflex type, and are not accompanied by a subjective conscious experience. Nevertheless, CNRS scientists in the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistiques (CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris/EHESS), working in collaboration with scientists from NeuroSpin (Inserm/CEA) have now shown that as from an age of 5 months, infants are endowed with form of consciousness similar to that seen in adults. These findings are published in
Scientists at the Institut Pasteur, the CNRS and the University of Texas have been able to observe at atomic-level the effects of ethanol (the alcohol present in alcoholic beverages) on central nervous system receptors. They have identified five ethanol binding sites in a mutant of a bacterial analog of nicotinic receptors, and have determined how the binding of ethanol stimulates receptor activity. These findings can be directly extrapolated to human GABA receptors (the primary inhibitory neurotransmitters in the human brain), which are ethanol's main target in the central nervous system. This work is being published online on April 16, on the Nature Communications website. It paves the way for the synthesis of ethanol antagonist compounds that could limit the effect of alcohol on the brain.
Coinciding with France's ongoing debate on energy transition, the CNRS / sagascience collection releases a report on the current state of nuclear energy. This animation gives the public invaluable cues to deciphering nuclear issues and thus take part in the national debate organized between January and April 2013.
"Nuclear energy, from basic research to society" is available online at : http://www.cnrs.fr/nuclear
After fifteen months of observation, the European Space Agency (ESA)'s spacecraft Planck, launched in 2009 to observe the cosmic microwave background (the relic radiation from the Big Bang), has delivered its first results. The wealth of information they provide about the history and composition of the universe includes in particular: the most accurate map of the cosmic microwave background ever obtained; evidence of an effect predicted by inflationary models; a lower value for the expansion rate of the universe; and a new estimate of its composition. Much of this data was collected by Planck's main instrument, HFI, which was designed and assembled under the supervision of the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud) with funding from CNES and CNRS.
From zebra stripes to butterflies' colorful wings to the red and white clownfish, animals' bodies are adorned with a wide variety of pigmentation patterns that are essential for their reproduction and survival. But how do these color patterns appear and change in the course of evolution? A team of researchers at the IBDML (Institut de Biologie du Développement Marseille-Luminy, CNRS / Aix-Marseille University) has proposed a genetic model that explains the evolutionary emergence of new pigmentation patterns and their diversification among species. They focused their investigation on a black spot found on the wings of
The laureates of the CNRS 2013 Medal of Innovation are Philippe Cinquin, a professor in medical data processing, Ludwik Leibler, a physical chemist and the mathematician Stéphane Mallat. Each year, the award is handed out in recognition of groundbreaking research that has led to significant innovations in technology, economics, medicine or the humanities. The three will be presented with the accolade by France's Higher Education and Research Minister Geneviève Fioraso on 12 June.
Scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), in collaboration with the Universities of Basel (Switzerland) and Cambridge (UK) have identified the mechanism underlying the formation of Buruli ulcers caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. Their discovery opens avenues for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for combating this disfiguring skin disease. This study is published online by