A new technology will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer.
Researchers have revealed the mechanism of action of the 'back brace' proteins that stabilize single strands, protect them and prevent them from folding back into a double-helix structure that can inhibit subsequent DNA processing.
Scientists have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells. The research could forge the way for the creation of 'stem cell factories' - the mass production of human embryonic (pluripotent) stem cells.
Chemists have developed photoresponsive derivatives of an antimitotic drug, which permit light-dependent control of cell division. The new agents could provide the basis for precisely targeted tumor therapies, free of side-effects.
Scientists have directed a common bacterium to produce more of a valuable fatty acid, lauric acid, than it typically does. The achievement is noteworthy not simply because of the increased production of fatty acid, which can be a useful component of biofuels.
Scientists attending a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory slipped the leash of scientific caution and tried to imagine what they would do if they could redesign plants at will. The ideas they dreamed up may make the difference between full bellies and empty ones in the near future when population may outrun the ability of traditional plant breeding to increase yields.
Certain genetic diseases arise from a deficit of specific genes. An enzyme that amplifies gene transcription could be a viable therapy in these cases, as long as genes are not stimulated to work on the wrong part of the body. SISSA scientists have created synthetic 'intelligent' enzymes which are able to differentiate between active and inactive genes and selectively stimulate the former ones.
Surveying everything from sea cucumbers and Venus flytraps to human muscles and trees, a new review paper broadly explores the strategies that biology employs to create different functions and the mechanics at play within those functions. Discovering how and why biological systems attain desirable static and dynamic mechanical functionalities often reveals principles that inform new synthetic designs based on biological systems.