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Cell Biology News
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:23:10 EDT
Designer 'barrel' proteins created
Designer proteins that expand on nature's own repertoire, created by a team of chemists and biochemists, are described in a new paper. Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, and the transport of oxygen in blood.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:57 EDT
Paper-based synthetic gene networks could enable rapid detection of ebola and other viruses
Synthetic gene networks hold great potential for broad biotechnology and medical applications, but so far they have been limited to the lab. A study reveals a new method for using engineered gene circuits beyond the lab, allowing researchers to safely activate the cell-free, paper-based system by simply adding water. The low-cost, easy-to-use platform could enable the rapid detection of different strains of deadly viruses such as Ebola.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:53 EDT
Gene that once aided survival in Arctic found to have negative impact on health today
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations. The findings provide an example of how an initially beneficial genetic change could be detrimental to future generations.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:10:52 EDT
First protein microfiber engineered: New material advances tissue engineering and drug delivery
Researchers have broken new ground in the development of proteins that form specialized fibers used in medicine and nanotechnology. For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, their work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale -- a leap of magnitude in size that presents significant new opportunities for using engineered protein fibers.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:09:38 EDT
Beetroot beneficial for athletes, heart failure patients, research finds
The nitrate in beetroot targets fast-twitch muscles, increasing the blood flow to muscles that receive less oxygen, researchers report. This can increase high-intensity athletic performance and improve quality of life of heart failure patients.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:20:35 EDT
Mature forests store nitrogen in soil: May help protect waterways from excess nitrogen from industry
Ecologists working in central Pennsylvania forests have found that forest top soils capture and stabilize the powerful fertilizer nitrogen quickly, within days, but release it slowly, over years to decades. The discrepancy in rates means that nitrogen can build up in soils. Forests may be providing an unappreciated service by storing excess nitrogen emitted by modern agriculture, industry, and transport before it can cause problems for our waterways.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:07 EDT
Chamber of secrets: Cell organization influences ability to communicate
Cells can huddle to communicate within a restricted group, scientists have found. The study is the first demonstration that the way cells organize themselves influences their ability to communicate. The researchers propose that this strategy, which they discovered in developing zebrafish, could be much more widespread, influencing processes like wound repair, organ formation and even cancer.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:09:56 EDT
Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis
A new test could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately. The discovery could cut back on the lengthy diagnostic time usually required to confirm if a patient is suffering from sepsis and increase the odds that they will respond to treatment.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:35:59 EDT
Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice
A new drug, OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice, scientists report. It inhibits the action of a protein that is overproduced by several tumor types but is rarely expressed in healthy adult tissues. Without it, cancer cells fail to complete the cell-division process and die.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:34:56 EDT
Shifting precipitation patterns affect tea flavor, health compounds, study shows
Major antioxidant compounds that determine tea health properties and taste fell up to 50 percent during an extreme monsoon, a study concludes. The findings are based on samples taken from tea gardens in southwest China. The researchers collected samples from two extreme weather events -- an extreme drought and an extreme monsoon -- and performed a chemical analysis of the samples.
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