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.
Regenerative medicine uses cells harvested from the patient's own body to heal damaged tissue. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a cell-free substrate containing proteins to which autologous cells bind and grow only after implantation.
Researchers uncovered a new kind of synergy in the development of the nervous system, which explains an important mechanism required for neural circuits to form properly. Their breakthrough could eventually help develop tools to repair nerve cells following injuries to the nervous system (such as the brain and spinal cord).