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Disrupted propionate metabolism evokes transcriptional changes in the heart by increasing histone acetylation and propionylation

Propiogenic substrates and gut bacteria produce propionate, a post-translational protein modifier. In this study, we used a mouse model of propionic acidaemia (PA) to study how disturbances to propionate metabolism result in histone modifications and changes to gene expression that affect cardiac function. Plasma propionate surrogates were raised in PA mice, but female hearts manifested more profound changes in acyl-CoAs, histone propionylation and acetylation, and transcription. These resulted in moderate diastolic dysfunction with raised diastolic Ca2+, expanded end-systolic ventricular volume and reduced stroke volume. Propionate was traced to histone H3 propionylation and caused increased acetylation genome-wide, including at promoters of Pde9a and Mme, genes related to contractile dysfunction through downscaled cGMP signaling. The less severe phenotype in male hearts correlated with β-alanine buildup. Raising β-alanine in cultured myocytes treated with propionate reduced propionyl-CoA levels, indicating a mechanistic relationship. Thus, we linked perturbed propionate metabolism to epigenetic changes that impact cardiac function.

Nanopore technology achieves breakthrough in protein variant detection

A team of scientists led by the University of Oxford have achieved a significant breakthrough in detecting modifications on protein structures. The method, published in Nature Nanotechnology, employs innovative nanopore technology to identify structural variations at the single-molecule level, even deep within long protein chains.

Oxford University team wins national teaching award

The work of Oxford University’s Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research team (OxSTaR) had been recognised by a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE). The AdvanceHE award celebrates outstanding collaborative impact on teaching and learning and highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education.

COVID-19 measures reduced life-threatening invasive bacterial infections

Containment measures introduced to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 resulted in a sustained reduction in the transmission of certain bacteria that cause diseases such as meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia, according to a new study published in The Lancet Digital Health by the Invasive Respiratory Infection Surveillance (IRIS) Consortium.

Science Together celebrates a second successful year of community-led research collaborations

Last week, the University of Oxford’s historic Divinity School hosted a special evening event to celebrate the seven new community-led research collaborations formed over the last 12 months through the Science Together engagement programme.

Oxford R21/Matrix-M™ malaria vaccine receives regulatory clearance for use in Burkina Faso

The University of Oxford-developed, Serum Institute of India PvT Ltd (SIIPL) manufactured and scaled up R21/Matrix-MTM malaria vaccine, leveraging Novavax’s adjuvant technology, has been licensed for use in Burkina Faso by the country’s regulatory agency, Agence Nationale de la Regulation Pharmaceutique (ANRP).

Oxford chemists achieve breakthrough achievement: hazard-free production of fluorochemicals

For the first time, Oxford chemists have generated fluorochemicals – critical for many industries – without the use of hazardous hydrogen fluoride gas. The team’s innovative method, published this week in the leading journal Science, could achieve an immense impact in improving the safety and carbon footprint of a growing global industry.

Oxford to launch UK’s first trials unit dedicated to precision-prevention and early detection studies

Oxford researchers have been given a £1 million boost to support their strategy of developing cancer prevention treatments and early diagnostic tools for people at high risk of cancer.

Routine brain scanning may improve clinical care for people with psychosis

Routine brain scanning in people experiencing psychosis could help to identify underlying physical conditions that are causing their symptoms, according to a new study.

Participating in genetic studies is in your genes: Oxford study

Why do some people take part in genetic studies while others do not? The answer may lie within our genetic makeup. According to a ground-breaking study by Oxford's Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Big Data Institute, people who participate in genetic studies are genetically more likely to do so, leaving detectable ‘footprints’ in genetics data. This breakthrough equips researchers with the ability to identify and address participation bias, a significant challenge in genetic research.

Study reveals new mechanism for rapid evolution of multi-drug resistant infections in patients

A research study led by the University of Oxford provides a transformational new insight into how antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerges in patients with bacterial infections. The findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, could help develop more effective interventions to prevent AMR infections developing in vulnerable patients.

African Phase I HIV vaccine trial shows encouraging preliminary results

The multisite Phase I HIV-CORE 006 HIV vaccine clinical trial, run by the Globally Relevant AIDS Vaccine Europe-Africa Trials Partnership (GREAT), has concluded successfully.

Oxford conference to prepare for future of pandemics

Representatives from academia, industry, policy and civil society are gathering in Oxford next week to discuss the latest scientific advances that are ensuring the world is better prepared for future pandemics.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as a second dose generates high immune response in young people

Researchers running the University of Oxford-led Com-COV3 study have reported the results of a study assessing the immune response and side effect profile of ‘mixed’ two-dose COVID-19 vaccine schedules in adolescents aged 12 to 16 years - administering either a full or a one-third (fractional) dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or a full dose of the Novavax vaccine at least eight weeks after a first full dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Poor air quality found to affect mental health in many ways

Poor air quality affects mental health in many ways, according to a new review of evidence published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Oxford opens the UK’s first Space Innovation Lab

The UK’s first Space Innovation Lab, dedicated to understanding the effect of space microgravity on the ageing process, opened today at the Botnar Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences at Oxford's Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS).

Record number of unicorn founders from the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has produced the highest number of tech unicorn founders across Europe, according to a new report.

Beacon Therapeutics spun out by Syncona and Oxford raises £96 million for retinal gene therapy

Beacon Therapeutics, a pioneering new biotech company, has launched with a mission to restore and improve the vision of patients with retinal diseases. The company is one of the most ambitious spinouts the University has been involved in to date, starting out with an impressive £96 million ($118.5m) in funding, the biggest launch for any company including an Oxford spin-out programme.

Alcohol consumption increases the risks of over 60 diseases

Alcohol consumption increases the risks of over 60 diseases in Chinese men, including many diseases not previously linked to alcohol, according to a new study by researchers from Oxford Population Health and Peking University, published in Nature Medicine.

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