NIH grants enable energy studies

David Kilper/WUSTL Photo(Left to right) Cindy Richard-Fogal, Ph.D., research scientist in biology in Arts & Sciences, Elaine Frawley, graduate research assistant, and Robert Kranz, Ph.D., professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, examine an *E. coli* culture.Robert G. Kranz, Ph.D., professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been awarded two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study pathways in bioenergy conversion. The first, for $1,203,250, is a long-term NIH R01 renewal that began Aug. 1 titled “Cytochrome c Biogenesis.” The renewal award means that NIH has funded Kranz continuously for 22 years.

Researchers discover pathway to cell size, division

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered through genetic analyses a metabolic pathway in bacteria comprised of just three genes, all known to be players in metabolism. This pathway was previously shown to be involved in synthesizing modified membrane lipids but data from Petra Levin’s lab indicate that it also has a major role in cell division. This is the first identification of a pathway responsible for regulating bacterial cell size.

Pathway toward gene silencing described in plants

Olga Pontes is Going FISHin’.Biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have made an important breakthrough in understanding a pathway plant cells take to silence unwanted or extra genes using short bits of RNA. Basically, they have made it possible to see where, and how, the events in the pathway unfold within the cell, and seeing is believing, as the old saying goes. Craig Pikaard, Ph.D., Washington University professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and his collaborators have described the roles that eight proteins in Arabidopsis plants play in a pathway that brings about DNA methylation, an epigenetic function that involves a chemical modification of cytosine, one of the four chemical subunits of DNA. More…