Biophysicists have developed a hypothesis to explain the function of a light-driven protein which pumps sodium ions across a cell membrane, and they have revealed the key structural feature of these pumps. The scientists see these sodium pumps as being highly promising tools in using light signals to control nerve cells - which is exactly what is involved in the new scientific field of optogenetics.
Thanks to a new method for making interspecies yeast hybrids in the lab, the makers of beer, wine, biofuels and other products that depend on yeasts may soon have many more strains of the microorganism to work with.
Chemical engineers and neuroscientists have developed a new way to classify neurons by labeling and imaging the proteins found in each cell. This type of imaging offers clues to each neuron?s function and should help in mapping the human brain, the researchers say.
Researchers have developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. Death and dysfunction of these cells cause vision loss in conditions like glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
Scientists describe a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. This groundbreaking development could help advance a variety of liver-related research and applications, from studying drug toxicity to creating bio-artificial liver support for patients awaiting transplantations.
Against voracious beetles or caterpillars plants protect themselves with cyanide. Certain enzymes release the toxic substance when the plant is chewed. These HNL-called enzymes are also important for industry. Researchers found a new biocatalyst in a fern which outshines all other HNL-type enzymes on the market.
Bioart ranges from bacterial manipulation to glowing rabbits, cellular sculptures. In the pursuit of creating art, practitioners have generated tools and techniques that have aided researchers, while sometimes crossing into controversy, such as by releasing invasive species into the environment, blurring the lines between art and biology, and challenging scientific thinking.