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Molecular 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 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 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.
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 12:30:21 EDT
Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells
Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, report researchers.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:17:52 EDT
Genome editing technique advanced by researchers
Customized genome editing -- the ability to edit desired DNA sequences to add, delete, activate or suppress specific genes -- has major potential for application in medicine, biotechnology, food and agriculture. Now researchers examine six key molecular elements that help drive this genome editing system, which is known as CRISPR-Cas.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:11:46 EDT
Peanut in house dust linked to peanut allergy in children with skin gene mutation
A strong link between exposure to peanut protein in household dust during infancy and the development of peanut allergy in children genetically predisposed to a skin barrier defect has been discovered by researchers.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:11:38 EDT
Tarantula venom illuminates electrical activity in live cells
A cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound has been developed to help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. This is the first time researchers have been able to visually observe these electrical signaling proteins turn on without genetic modification.
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:29:30 EDT
Plant's sunburn: How plants optimize their repair
The optimal mechanism by which plants heal the botanical equivalent of a bad sunburn has been uncovered by researchers. Their work could lead to the development of crops that can repair the sun's damage more easily, improving yields and profitability.
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