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Scientists watch living taste cells in action

April 22, 2015 10:08 am | by Australian National Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have, for the first time, captured live images of the process of taste sensation on the tongue. The international team imaged single cells on the tongue of a mouse with a specially designed microscope system.

Engineering the P450 enzyme to perform new reactions

April 22, 2015 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Enzymes, the micro machines in our cells, can evolve to perform new tasks when confronted with novel situations. But what if you want an enzyme to do an entirely different job—one that it would never have to do in a cell? In a recent report published in ACS Central Science, researchers show that they can mimic nature and perform evolution in a test tube, developing enzymes that can perform brand-new chemical reactions.

3-D structure solved for vulnerable region of glaucoma-causing protein

April 22, 2015 7:53 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Scientists have determined the 3-D structure of a key part of a protein that is associated with glaucoma and identified regions of this domain that correlate with severe forms of the disease. The new crystal structure is of the olfactomedin (OLF) domain in myocilin, a protein implicated in glaucoma. Many proteins have OLF domains, but mutations in the OLF domain of myocilin are linked to early-onset glaucoma.

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Researchers inform development of Ebola vaccine trials

April 21, 2015 11:58 am | by Faith Singer-Villalobos, Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

As the current Ebola outbreak wanes, scientists have to make the most of every opportunity to prepare for future outbreaks. One such opportunity involves the identification of a safe and effective Ebola vaccine. Texas supercomputers have aided researchers in modeling which types of clinical trials will provide the best information.

A better grasp of primate grip

April 21, 2015 10:59 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team led by Yale Univ. found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools.

Happily ever after

April 21, 2015 8:20 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Fastening protein-based medical treatments to nanoparticles isn't easy. With arduous chemistry, scientists can do it. But like a doomed marriage, the fragile binding that holds them together often separates. This problem, which has limited how doctors can use proteins to treat serious disease, may soon change.

Chemists create modular system for placing proteins on membranes

April 21, 2015 8:12 am | by Susan Brown, Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

With a tag, an anchor and a cage that can be unlocked with light, chemists have devised a simple, modular system that can locate proteins at the membrane of a cell. The chemists fused proteins to molecules called SNAP-tags, modified enzymes that recognize a particular chemical group called a benzylguanine.

Deadline Extended for 2015 R&D 100 Award Entries

April 20, 2015 1:53 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | News | Comments

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced a deadline extension for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards entry process until May 18, 2015. The R&D 100 Awards have a 50 plus year history of awarding the 100 most technologically significant products of the year.

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New tactic targets brain tumors

April 20, 2015 11:41 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Drugs that target insulin pathways to slow or stop the growth of brain tumors are going in the right direction, but appear to be on the wrong track, according to new research. Through detailed computer models and experiments on two distinct glioblastoma cell types, the researchers have found reason to believe therapies that attack the insulin signaling pathway thought to influence tumor development have had mixed results in trials.

Key element in bacterial immune system discovered

April 20, 2015 7:53 am | by Univ. of Otago | News | Comments

A Univ. of Otago scientist is a member of an international research team that has made an important discovery about the workings of a bacterial immune system. The finding could lead to the development of tailor-made RNA-editing tools. RNA is the molecule that translates DNA's genetic instructions into the production of the proteins that are the building blocks of cells.

Biofuel Struggles with Economics and the Environment

April 17, 2015 2:31 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Immediately following the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, much research interest focused on the development of bio-based renewable energy sources (biofuels). EISA mandated increased production and use of biofuels for the long term. There also appeared to be substantial long-term government support for the implementation of a biofuel-based industry.

New lab technique reveals structure, function of proteins critical in DNA repair

April 17, 2015 12:32 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have for the first time simultaneously observed the structure and the correlated function of specific proteins critical in the repair of DNA, providing definitive answers to some highly debated questions, and opening up new avenues of inquiry and exciting new possibilities for biological engineering.

DNA “spool” modification affects aging, longevity

April 17, 2015 10:01 am | by Krishan Ramujan, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Research on a modified protein around which DNA is wrapped sheds light on how gene regulation is linked to aging and longevity in nematodes, fruit flies and possibly humans. The research has implications for how gene expression is regulated, and could offer a new drug target for age-related diseases.

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Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?

April 17, 2015 8:42 am | by Chris Chipello, McGill Univ. | Videos | Comments

A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, according to laboratory experiments by researchers at McGill Univ. The findings suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes’ susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage.

Zinc deficiency linked to activation of Hedgehog signaling pathway

April 17, 2015 8:03 am | by Mary Martialay, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | News | Comments

Zinc deficiency, long associated with numerous diseases like certain cancers, can lead to activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, a biomolecular pathway that plays essential roles in developing organisms and in diseases, according to new research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Solidifying Image Acquisition

April 16, 2015 2:53 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Image analysis is of growing importance in science, and trends are observed for different layers of image acquisition. Quantifiable and reproducible data is a prerequisite for scientific publications. And, today, it isn’t sufficient to just acquire aesthetically pleasing images with a microscope. To get powerful scientific results, scientists must get as much information as they can from an image.

Tailoring GPC/SEC to Today’s Applications

April 16, 2015 2:04 pm | by Stephen Ball, Product Marketing Manager, Nanoparticleand Molecular Characterization, Malvern Instruments | Articles | Comments

Gel permeation/size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) is a vital analytical technique used to characterize synthetic and natural polymers, including biologically important macromolecules such as proteins and DNA. Evolving challenges tax the capabilities of traditional GPC/SEC and invite advances in the technology.

Mobile, Raman and NMR Drive New Technologies

April 16, 2015 1:42 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

At the 66th annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) this past March 7 – 13 in New Orleans, the spectroscopy- based new product introductions covered, quite literally, the entire analytical spectrum from the far-infrared to x-rays, along with Raman and mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) products.

Tracing dust samples using fungal DNA

April 16, 2015 12:33 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, have developed a statistical model that allows them to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental U.S. based on the DNA of fungi found in the sample.

Brain tumors may be new victims of Ebola-like virus

April 16, 2015 11:55 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale Univ. researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers, portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola. A virus containing proteins found in the Lassa virus not only passed through the formidable blood-brain barrier but destroyed brain tumors in mice, according to research released in the Journal of Virology.

New transitional stem cells discovered

April 16, 2015 11:19 am | by Nathan Hurst, Univ. of Missouri | News | Comments

Pre-eclampsia is a disease that affects 5 to 8% of pregnancies in America. Complications from this disease can lead to emergency cesarean sections early in pregnancies to save the lives of the infants and mothers. Scientists believe pre-eclampsia is caused by a number of factors, including shallow placentas that are insufficiently associated with maternal blood vessels.

Inhibitor for abnormal protein points way to more selective cancer drugs

April 16, 2015 8:20 am | by Dave Zobel, Caltech | News | Comments

Nowhere is the adage "form follows function" more true than in the folded chain of amino acids that makes up a single protein macromolecule. But proteins are very sensitive to errors in their genetic blueprints. One single-letter DNA "misspelling" (called a point mutation) can alter a protein's structure or electric charge distribution enough to render it ineffective or even deleterious.

BPA exposure in pregnant mice affects fertility in three generations

April 16, 2015 8:03 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity and pregnancy success, the scientists report in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

Study: Many Medicare cataract patients given needless tests

April 15, 2015 6:05 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Millions of older people are getting tests they don't need to prove they are healthy enough to have cataracts removed, a new study finds. The excess testing before this quick, ultra-safe eye procedure is costing them and Medicare a bundle, and many patients don't know they can question it, doctors say.

Scientists uncover how molecule protects brain cells in parkinson's disease model

April 15, 2015 11:37 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

These findings could provide valuable insight into the development of drug candidates that could protect brain cells in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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