By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists have for the first time simultaneously observed the structure and the correlated function of specific proteins critical in the repair of DNA, providing definitive answers to some highly debated questions, and opening up new avenues of inquiry and exciting new possibilities for biological engineering.
It may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that bacteria have an immune system. And like any immune system, the first challenge of the bacterial immune system is to detect the difference between 'foreign' and 'self'. A group of researchers has now revealed exactly how bacteria do this.
A newly developed spectroscopy method is helping to clarify the poorly understood molecular process by which an anti-HIV drug induces lethal mutations in the virus's genetic material. The findings could bolster efforts to develop the next generation of anti-viral treatments.
Researchers have developed a new way to use plant oils like olive and linseed oil to create polyurethane, a plastic material used in everything from foam insulation panels to tires, hoses and sealants.
New method allows production of expensive grapefruit aroma Nootkatone biotechnologically from cheap sugar using a 'turbo-yeast'. The versatile, healthy and tasty substance is used in soft drinks, pharmaceutical products or even as an insect repellent.
Scientists uncovered the atomic structure of KR2, a light-driven transporter for sodium ions which had only recently been discovered. Based on the structural information the team then identified a simple way to turn KR2 from a sodium into a potassium pump using simple means. Integrated into neurons, this could make KR2 a valuable tool for optogenetics, a new field of research that uses light-sensitive proteins as molecular switches to precisely control the activity of neurons and other electrically excitable cells using light impulses.
Biophysicists have revealed that fast-swimming, sulfur-eating microbes known as Thiovulum majus can organize themselves into a two-dimensional lattice composed of rotating cells, the first known example of bacteria spontaneously forming such a pattern.