The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as 'letters', that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing - raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.
MicroRNA can serve as a 'decoder ring' for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York University chemists has found. Their study points to a new method for decrypting the biological functions of enzymes and identifying those that drive diseases.
Lung cancer researchers have discovered a novel strategy to exploit apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, for the treatment of lung cancer. The protein Bcl-2 is a known target for cancer treatment since it allows cancer cells to evade cell death via apoptosis.
Cell therapies require a purification step that isolates the desired cell types from contaminating cells. Normally cell surface receptors are used as markers to distinguish cell types, but undesired cell types also show these receptors, compromising purification. Evidence suggests microRNA may be a better marker. New biotechnology, miRNA switches, purifies different cell types based on miRNA markers at levels suggesting applicability to patient care.
The world's first reference material to help ensure laboratories accurately 'map' DNA for genetic testing, medical diagnoses and future customized drug therapies is now available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Researchers are pursuing a new concept in treatment of epithelial cancer, especially head and neck cancer, by using two promising 'analogs' of an old compound that was once studied as a potent anti-tumor agent, but long ago abandoned because it was too toxic.
Researchers successfully measured metabolic profiles, or the metabolomes, of different brain regions, and their findings could help better understand neurodegenerative diseases. The metabolome represents all or at least a large part of the metabolites in a given tissue, and thus, it gives a snapshot of its physiology.
Scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about methanogens, unique microorganisms that transform electricity and carbon dioxide into methane. They demonstrate for the first time how methanogens obtain electrons from solid surfaces. The discovery could help scientists design electrodes for microbial 'factories' that produce methane gas and other compounds sustainably.
A central part of photosynthesis takes place in a specialized structure within chloroplasts, the thylakoid membrane system. Despite its apparent important function, until now it was not clear how this specialized internal membrane system is actually formed. Researchers have now identified how this membrane is generated.