In response to drug-resistant superbugs that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, 'molecular drill bits' that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls.
Capitalizing on the ability of an organism to evolve in response to punishment from a hostile environment, scientists have coaxed the model bacterium Escherichia coli to dramatically resist ionizing radiation and, in the process, reveal the genetic mechanisms that make the feat possible.
Studying epithelial cells, the cell type that most commonly turns cancerous, Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a protein that causes cells to release from their neighbors and migrate away from healthy mammary, or breast, tissue in mice. They also found that deletion of a cellular 'Velcro protein' does not cause the single-celled migration expected. Their results, they say, help clarify the molecular changes required for cancer cells to metastasize.
From genetic and genomic testing to new techniques in human assisted reproduction, various technologies are providing parents with more of a say about the children they have and 'stirring the pot of designer baby concerns', writes Thomas H. Murray, President Emeritus of The Hastings Center, in a commentary in Science.
Engineers have found that an electrical current can be used to orchestrate the flow of a group of cells. This achievement sets the stage for more controlled forms of tissue engineering and for potential applications such as 'smart bandages' that use electrical stimulation to help heal wounds.
ZENBU, a new, freely available bioinformatics tool developed at the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technology in Japan, enables researchers to quickly and easily integrate, visualize and compare large amounts of genomic information resulting from large-scale, next-generation sequencing experiments.
In a significant advance for the growing field of synthetic biology, bioengineers have created a toolkit of genes and hardware that uses colored lights and engineered bacteria to bring both mathematical predictability and cut-and-paste simplicity to the world of genetic circuit design.
Researchers have developed a computational tool designed to guide future research on biochemical pathways by identifying which components in a biological system are related to specific biochemical processes, including those processes responsible for gene expression, cell signaling, stress response, and metabolism.
Our DNA and its architecture are duplicated every time our cells divide. Histone proteins are key building blocks of this architecture and contain gene regulatory information. Danish researchers show how an enzyme controls reliable and high-speed delivery of histones to DNA copying hubs in our cells. This shuttling mechanism is crucial to maintain normal function of our genes and prevent diseases as cancer.
Like mobsters following strict orders, newly engineered molecules called 'ubiquibodies' can mark specific proteins inside a cell for destruction. It's a molecular kiss of death developed at Cornell University that is paving the way for new drug therapies and powerful research tools.