Researchers in Switzerland have developed a live-cell fluorescent labeling that makes bacterial cell-to-cell communication pathways visible. The communication between bacterial cells is essential in the regulation of processes within bacterial populations, such as biofilm development.
Although malaria has been eradicated in many countries, including the United States, it still infects more than 200 million people worldwide, killing nearly a million every year. In a major step toward reducing that number, a team led by MIT researchers has now developed a way to grow liver tissue that can support the liver stage of the life cycle of the two most common species of malaria.
Using a close interplay of neuronal control and clever biomechanical tricks, insects can move their limbs without muscles. So-called “passive joint forces” serve to return the limb back towards a preferred resting position. This surprising finding from neurobiologists at the Univ. of Leicester may provide engineers with new ways to improve the control of robotic and prosthetic limbs.
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified a mechanism that can prevent the normal prion protein from changing its molecular shape into the abnormal form responsible for neurodegenerative diseases. This finding offers new hope in the battle against a foe that until now has always proved fatal.
Butterfly wings can do remarkable things with light, and humans are still trying to learn from them. Physicists have now uncovered how subtle differences in the tiny crystals of butterfly wings create stunningly varied patterns of color even among closely related species. The discovery could lead to new coatings for manufactured materials that could change color by design.
According to a presentation this week at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists exposition in Chicago, new technologies and ingredients are improving the taste, appearance and nutritional content of gluten-free food products, a market that is expected to grow to $6 billion by 2017. An estimated one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, an immune disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten peptides found in wheat, barley and rye.
The electrical activity of neurons contains a mixture of stored memories, environmental circumstances, and current state of mind, scientists have found in a study of laboratory rats. The research, which monitored neuronal electrical activity in the hippocampus, relied on the concept of “cross-episode retrieval”, in which brain activity is stimulated in a given circumstance that was also activated in a previous, distinctive experience.
The ergodic theorem, proposed by mathematician George Birkhoff in 1931, holds that if you follow an individual particle over an infinite amount of time, it will go through all the states that are seen in an infinite population at an instant in time. Experiments by biochemists in California show for the first time that the ergodic theorem can be demonstrated by a collection of individual protein molecules.
The interior of a living cell is a crowded place, with proteins and other macromolecules packed tightly together. A team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon Univ. has approximated this molecular crowding in an artificial cellular system and found that tight quarters help the process of gene expression, especially when other conditions are less than ideal.
New research provides a rare “picture” of the activity taking place at the single molecular level. Scientists have used total internal reflection microscope to obtain visual evidence of the mechanisms involved when a cell transports mRNA (or messenger RNA) to where a protein is needed to perform a cellular function.
Scientists in the new but fast-growing field of computational genomics are facing a dilemma. These researchers have begun to assemble the chemical blueprints of the DNA found in humans, animals, plants and microbes. But a flood of unassembled genetic data is being produced much faster than current computers can turn it into useful information, two scholars in the field are warning.
At the end of the last Ice Age, as the world began to warm, a brief pulse of biological productivity in the Pacific Ocean gave rise to large numbers of phytoplankton, foraminifera and other creatures. Researchers have hypothesized that iron sparked this surge of ocean life, but a new study determines instead that “perfect storm” of nutrients and light spurred the bloom.
With the help of a new biochemical technique, an international team of scientists has cracked the “RNA control code”, which dictates how the family of molecules that mediates DNA expression moves genetic information from DNA to create proteins. One of the proteins they examined may explain some of the symptoms in children with autism.
Scientists European Molecular Biology Laboratory have used super-resolution microscopy to solve a decade-long debate about the structure of the nuclear pore complex, which controls access to the genome by acting as a gate into the cell’s nucleus. Researchers already knew the gate’s overall shape, from electron tomography studies, but before the application of super-resolution fluorescence, they did not know the arrangement.
Doctors have a new way of thinking about how to treat heart and skeletal muscle diseases. Body builders have a new way of thinking about how they maximize their power. Both owe their new insight to high-energy x-rays, a moth and cloud computing. The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same, but the power doesn't just come from what's happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years.
A team of scientists led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Univ. of California, Berkeley, have recently used a combination of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray computed tomography at the Advanced Light Source to find that vitamin D deficiency speeds the aging process of bone and reduces its quality.
Changes in the epigenome, including chemical modifications of DNA, can act as an extra layer of information in the genome. A new study by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show that the landscape of DNA methylation, a particular type of epigenomic modification, is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood.
Human embryonic stem cells have the remarkable property that they can form all human cell types, a process that is facilitated by cell communication pathways. An international research team based in Singapore have discovered a molecular network in human embryonic stem cells that integrates cell communication signals to keep the cell in its stem cell state.
Two HIV-positive patients in the United States who underwent bone marrow transplants for cancer have stopped anti-retroviral therapy and still show no detectable sign of the HIV virus, researchers said Wednesday. The Harvard Univ. researchers stressed it was too early to say the men have been cured, but said it was an encouraging sign that the virus hasn't rebounded in their blood months after drug treatment ended.
Humans are amazing throwers. We are unique among all animals, including our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, in our ability to throw projectiles at high speeds and with incredible accuracy. This trait was critical to the survival and success of our ancestors, aiding their hunting and protective skills, according to National Science Foundation-funded research.
Scientists at the Univ. of East Anglia are developing a new class of anti-cancer drugs that are not only powerful but also circumvent a primary cause of resistance to chemotherapy. The work is inspired by nature’s fungus farmer, the leaf cutter ant.
Feeling faint from the flu? Is your cold causing you to collapse? Your infection is the most likely cause, and, according to a new study by Univ. of California, Santa Barbara research scientist Ryan Hechinger, it may be possible to know just how much energy your bugs are taking from you.
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified two promising candidates for the development of drugs against human adenovirus, a cause of ailments ranging from colds to gastrointestinal disorders to pink eye. A recently published paper describes how the researchers sifted through thousands of compounds to determine which might block the effects of a key viral enzyme they had previously studied in atomic-level detail.
The idea that worms can be seen as waveforms allowed scientists at Rice Univ. to find new links in gene networks that control movement. The work led by a Rice biochemist involved analyzing video records of the movement of thousands of mutant worms of the species Caenorhabditis elegans to identify the neuronal pathways that drive locomotion. One result was the discovery of 87 genes that, when inactivated, caused movement defects in worms.
In a recent study, researchers used computed tomography imaging to look for hardened, or calcified, buildup in the blood vessels that supply the heart and found that higher levels of DNA particles in the blood were linked to high levels of coronary artery calcium deposits. The finding may help doctors in the future more quickly determine which patients with chest pain are likely to have narrowed coronary arteries.