National Institutes of Health researchers have used the popular anti-wrinkle agent Botox to discover a new and important role for a group of molecules that nerve cells use to quickly send messages. This novel role for the molecules, called SNARES, may be a missing piece that scientists have been searching for to fully understand how brain cells communicate under normal and disease conditions.
Agilent Technologies Inc. this week announced that the Broad Institute in Cambridge,...
A new method of manufacturing short, single-stranded DNA molecules uses enzymatic...
In recently published research, St. Louis Univ. researchers describe a technology that can detect new, previously unknown viruses. The technique offers the potential to screen patients for viruses even when doctors have not identified a particular virus as the likely source of an infection. In the new approach, scientists use blood serum as a biological source to categorize and discover viruses.
Mannitol, a sugar alcohol produced by fungi, bacteria and algae, is a common component of sugar-free gum and candy. The sweetener is also used in the medical field. Now a team from Tel Aviv Univ. have found that mannitol also prevents clumps of a protein from forming in the brain—a process that is characteristic of Parkinson's disease.
The Agriculture Dept. says it has no indications that genetically modified wheat found in the western state of Oregon last month has spread beyond the field in which it was found. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, and the department is investigating how the engineered wheat got in the field.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries. The high court's unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials.
What would you do with a camera that can take a picture of something and tell you how new it is? If you’re a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist, you use it to gain a better understanding of the ever-changing world of metabolites. A team of researchers has developed a mass spectrometry imaging technique that not only maps the whereabouts of individual metabolites in a biological sample, but how new the metabolites are too.
A Cornell Univ. study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution since there is little difference between humans and chimps in the proteins produced by genes.
AB SCIEX has unveiled three new solutions for biological researchers to improve identification and quantitation of proteins, peptides, metabolites and lipids. The company extended the applicability of SelexION technology, SWATH Acquisition and ProteinPilot software for academic research in the field of systems biology.
For more than a decade, scientists have suspected that hairpin-shaped chains of micro-RNA regulate wood formation inside plant cells. Now, scientists at North Carolina State Univ. have found the first example and mapped out key relationships that control the process. The research describes how one strand of micro-RNA reduced by more than 20% the formation of lignin, which gives wood its strength.
Bacteria in the gut that are under attack by antibiotics have allies no one had anticipated, a team of Harvard Univ. Wyss Institute scientists has found. Gut viruses that usually commandeer the bacteria, it turns out, enable them to survive the antibiotic onslaught, most likely by handing them genes that help them withstand the drug.
Cartilage injuries have ended many athletes’ career, and the general wear-and-tear of the joint-cushioning tissue is something that almost everyone will endure as they age. Unfortunately, repairing cartilage remains difficult. Bioengineers are interested in finding innovative ways to grow new cartilage from a patient’s own stem cells. A new study from the Univ. of Pennsylvania brings such a treatment one step closer to reality.
Using data derived from nuclear weapons testing of the 1950s and '60s, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have found that a small portion of the human brain involved in memory makes new neurons well into adulthood. The research may have profound impacts on human behavior and mental health.
By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have shown that they can block a compulsive behavior in mice—a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s syndrome.
Zebrafish with very weak muscles helped scientists decode the elusive genetic mutation responsible for Native American myopathy, a rare, hereditary muscle disease that afflicts Native Americans in North Carolina. Scientists originally identified the gene in mutant zebrafish that exhibited severe muscle weakness. The responsible gene encodes for a muscle protein called Stac3.
The genetic malady known as Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of inherited autism and intellectual disability. Brain scientists know the gene defect that causes the syndrome and understand the damage it does in misshaping the brain's synapses—the connections between neurons. But how this abnormal shaping of synapses translates into abnormal behavior is unclear. Now, researchers believe they know.
JPK Instruments reports on the Yan Jie single-molecule biophysics research group at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) of the National Univ. of Singapore (NUS) and their use of optical tweezers. The MBI of the NUS was created through joint funding by the National Research Foundation and the Ministry of Education with the goal of creating a new research center in mechanobiology to benefit both the discipline and Singapore.
On any given day, Jason Atkins and Mohit Patel can be found toiling away inside a chemical biology laboratory at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. And they love every minute of it. The researchers recently developed new technology to transfer DNA into cells. The development is an inexpensive and non-toxic method to help DNA cross the cell membrane so that cells can be modified.
Structural biologists from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have captured the first 3-D crystalline snapshot of a critical but fleeting process that takes place thousands of times per second in each human cell. The research could prove useful in the study of cancer and other diseases.
Human scabs have become the model for development of an advanced wound dressing material that shows promise for speeding the healing process, scientists are reporting. The team explains that scabs are a perfect natural dressing material for wounds. In addition to preventing further bleeding, scabs protect against infection and recruit the new cells needed for healing.
Virus particles of the same type had been thought to have identical structures, like a mass-produced toy, but a new visualization technique developed by a Purdue University researcher revealed otherwise. It was found that an important viral substructure consisted of a collection of components that could be assembled in different ways, creating differences from particle to particle.
Transplantation of human stem cells in an experiment conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison improved survival and muscle function in rats used to model ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a nerve disease that destroys nerve control of muscles, causing death by respiratory failure.
For the first time, researchers have found a particular kind of molecular switch in the food-poisoning bacteria Salmonella Typhimurium under infection-like conditions. This switch, using a process called S-thiolation, appears to be used by the bacteria to respond to changes in the environment during infection and might protect it from harm, researchers report.
The structures of most of the two million proteins in the human body are still unknown. A new algorithm developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists solves the convoluted shapes of large molecules by using images of numerous individual samples, all caught simultaneously in a split-second flash of X-rays from a free-electron laser.
Striking a blow at foodborne diseases, the 100K Pathogen Genome Project at the University of California, Davis today announced that it has sequenced the genomes of its first 10 infectious microorganisms, including strains of Salmonella and Listeria.
Cells in the human body do not function in isolation. Living cells rely on communication with their environment—neighboring cells and the surrounding matrix—to activate a wide range of cellular functions. This cellular communication occurs on the molecular level and it is reciprocal. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured the molecular force required to mechanically transmit function-regulating signals within a cell.
For decades, people have been getting rid of cockroaches by setting out bait mixed with poison. But in the late 1980s, in an apartment test kitchen in Florida, something went very wrong. A killer product stopped working. Cockroach populations there kept rising. Mystified researchers tested and discarded theory after theory until they finally hit on the explanation.