For about 20 years now, experimental research on nuclear DNA has been supplemented by research based on computer simulations aimed at reconstructing the structure and function of this molecule that is so essential to life as we know it. A systematic review - carried out with the participation of SISSA in Trieste - provides a detailed summary of the majority of models developed to date. The review is mainly aimed at biologists, for whom it may become an important research tool.
Scientists have obtained the first detailed molecular structure of a member of the Tet family of enzymes. The finding is important for the field of epigenetics because Tet enzymes chemically modify DNA, changing signposts that tell the cell's machinery 'this gene is shut off' into other signs that say 'ready for a change'.
The natural ability of certain fungi to break down complex substances makes them very valuable microorganisms to use as cell factories in industrial processes. Advances in metabolic engineering and systems biology are helping to customize and optimize these fungi to produce specific bioproducts.
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with two other institutions, have identified a method for protein crystallography that reduces damage to the protein crystal. This will allow crystals to be studied for longer periods of time as researchers study protein structures for new pharmaceuticals.
Photoreactions are driven by light energy and are vital to the synthesis of many natural substances. Since many of these substances are also useful as active medical agents, chemists try to produce them synthetically. But in most cases only one of the possible products has the right spatial structure to make it effective. Researchers have now developed a methodology for one of these photoreactions that allows them to produce only the specific molecular variant desired.
Easily manufactured, low-cost artificial cells manufactured using microprinting may one day serve as drug and gene delivery devices and in biomaterials, biotechnology and biosensing applications, according to a team of Penn State biomedical engineers. These artificial cells will also allow researchers to explore actions that take place at the cell membrane.
Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the NYU College of Dentistry have developed a carrier in their lab that is five times more efficient in delivering DNA into cells than today's commercial delivery methods - reagent vectors. This novel complex is a peptide-polymer hybrid, assembled from two separate, less effective vectors that are used to carry DNA into cells. The study helps researchers better understand gene function.