Researchers the University of Texas, Dallas have found a way to monitor DNA looping, a natural biological mechanism involved in rearranging genetic material in some types of cells. Until now, scientists primarily had “snapshots” of the initial and final stages of DNA loop formation, but the new “tag and track” method uses fluorescence to watch the process step by step.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has entered into a technology alliance partnership agreement with scientists at Princeton University, establishing a formal collaboration to accelerate research in triple quadrupole and high-resolution accurate mass liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for life science applications.
The question of just how a cell membrane—which is otherwise an impermeable barrier—allows certain proteins to penetrate it remains largely a mystery. But an answer may be closer after measurements taken at the NIST and France's Institut Laue-Langevin, where scientists have observed changes in the thickness of a model cell membrane for the first time.
Pioneering mass spectrometry methods developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are helping plant biologists get their first glimpses of never-before-seen plant tissue structures. The new method opens up new realms of study, ones that might have long-ranging implications for biofuels research and crop genetics.
This week researchers have reported the first detailed data on methane-exhaling microbes that live deep in the cracks of hot undersea volcanoes. As evidence builds that a large amount of biomass exists in Earth’s subsurface, the scientists’ major goal was to test results of predictive computer models and to establish the first environmental hydrogen threshold for these extreme microbes.
Electron microscopy reveals cellular structures in high detail, but only tiny portions of a cell can be seen at a time. A team of scientists has tackled this problem by developing new tools for stitching together thousands of electron microscopy images into single, high-resolution images of biological tissues—a "Google Earth" for cell biologists. A newly enhanced viewer is available for public use.
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany have recently combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3D movie of how cells “swallow” nutrients and other molecules by bending its membrane inwards and engulfing them.
Existing technologies allow researchers to measure single molecules on the x and y axes of a 2D plane. By blending optical and atomic force microscope technologies, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have now found a way to complete 3D nanoscale measurements of single biological molecules with unprecedented accuracy and precision.
Zeran Li, as an undergraduate student in biological sciences at Purdue University, led a research team that uncovered an enzyme's role in the regulation of eye size in the fish. If the enzyme's role is similar in human eyes, it could be relevant to human vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
In a curious evolutionary twist, biologists from the University of Buffalo report, several species of a commonly studied fruit fly appear to have incorporated genetic material from a virus into their genomes. This discovery of virus-like genes in the DNA of a commonly studied fruit fly could enable research on whether animals hijack viral genes as an anti-viral defense.
When it comes to intelligence, what factors distinguish the brains of exceptionally smart humans from those of average humans? Size and prefrontal cortex activity contribute, but new research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that another 10% of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by the strength of neural pathways connecting the left prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain.
Processing biological samples on a small substrate the size of a computer chip is becoming a common task for biotechnology applications. Given the small working area, however, probing samples on the substrate with light can be difficult. Researchers in Singapore have now developed an optical fiber system that is able to deliver light to microfluidic chips with high efficiency.
Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University this week reported that it will receive up to $37 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body. The aim is to simulate the entire body’s physiology.
A new method for looking at how proteins fold inside mammal cells is allowing researchers to take snapshots of the cell's protein-making machinery—called ribosomes—in various stages of protein production. The scientists can then piece together the snapshots to reconstruct how proteins fold during their synthesis. The findings could one day lead to better flu vaccines, the researchers say.
Researchers analyzing meteorite fragments that fell on a frozen lake in Canada have developed an explanation for the origin of life's handedness—why living things only use molecules with specific orientations. The work also gave the strongest evidence to date that liquid water inside an asteroid leads to a strong preference of left-handed over right-handed forms of some common protein amino acids in meteorites.
A Cleveland Clinic research team is developing virtual models of human knee joints to better understand how tissues and their individual cells react to heavy loads—virtual models that someday can be used to understand damage mechanisms caused by the aging process or debilitating diseases, such as osteoarthritis.
Muscle contractions are controlled by the interplay between myosin and actin filaments and two other proteins, tropomyosin and troponin, which regulate how myosin binds to actin. Theoretical models have described exactly how these muscle proteins interact, but until now it has never been observed in detail. Researchers managed to image the actin-myosin-tropomyosin complex with an unprecedented accuracy of 0.8 nm.
Recent research shows for the first time that a new genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. The method builds on knowledge of splicing, in which it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy.
According to a report from research on the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the biological mechanism of sunburn—the reddish, painful, protective immune response from UV radiation—is a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells. The findings open the way to perhaps eventually blocking the inflammatory process, the scientists said, and have implications for a range of medical conditions and treatments.
Researchers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and their spin-off company Mimetas are set to soon launch their ’organs-on-a-chip’ product for drug development. These devices are composed of hundreds of micro-organs mimicked on a chip, with minuscule channels that serve as blood vessels.
Researchers at Harvard University have developed a novel biomimetic strategy that delivers life-saving nanotherapeutics directly to obstructed blood vessels, dissolving blood clots before they cause serious damage or even death. This new approach enables thrombus dissolution while using only a fraction of the drug dose normally required, minimizing bleeding side effects that currently limit the use of clot-busting drugs.
Government health experts said Thursday there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate.
Combining an algorithm with a recently-developed add-on technique for commercial microscopes, University of Illinois researchers have created a fast, non-invasive 3D method for studying cells without the use of fluorescence or contrast agents. They recently used the advance to reveal helical sub-cellular structure inside E. coli .
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have recently been able, for the first time, to watch viruses infecting individual bacteria by transferring their DNA, and to measure the rate at which that transfer occurs. Previous studies have involved bulk measurements, but the new technique can see the actions of individual viruses.