It is a big dream in science to start from scratch with simple artificial microscopic building blocks and end up with something much more complex: living systems, novel computers or every-day materials. For decades scientists have pursued the dream of creating artificial building blocks that can self-assemble in large numbers and reassemble to take on new tasks or to remedy defects. Now researchers from University of Southern Denmark have taken a step forward to make this dream come true.
Maybe you've seen the movies or played with toy Transformers, those shape-shifting machines that morph in response to whatever challenge they face. It turns out that DNA-repair machines in your cells use a similar approach to fight cancer and other diseases.
When it comes to finding cures for heart disease scientists have finally developed a tissue model for the human heart that can bridge the gap between animal models and human patients. Specifically, the researchers generated the tissue from human embryonic stem cells with the resulting muscle having significant similarities to human heart muscle.
Biochemists succeeded for the first time in creating mirror-image enzymes - so-called Spiegelzymes - out of nucleic acids. The Spiegelzymes can be used in living cells for the targeted cutting of natural nucleic acids.
Researchers at the University Children's Hospital Zurich and the University of Zurich have engineered skin cells for the very first time containing blood and lymphatic capillaries. They succeeded in isolating all the necessary types of skin cells from human skin tissue and engineering a skin graft that is similar to full-thickness skin.
In the process of protein synthesis there is a 'stochastic' component, i.e., involving random chance, which influences the time the process takes. This aspect has been investigated by two research scientists.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen can radically alter the properties of proteins by redesigning their chemical structure. New fundamental research based on designer proteins highlights important communication processes in the human body. In the long term, this new knowledge may lead to pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.
Scientists have created a way to interpret interactions among pairs of task-oriented proteins that relay signals. The goal is to learn how the proteins avoid crosstalk and whether they can be tuned for better performance.
Investigators at Johns Hopkins report they have developed human induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) capable of repairing damaged retinal vascular tissue in mice. The stem cells, derived from human umbilical cord-blood and coaxed into an embryonic-like state, were grown without the conventional use of viruses, which can mutate genes and initiate cancers, according to the scientists.
Stem cells can turn into heart cells, skin cells can mutate to cancer cells; even cells of the same tissue type exhibit small heterogeneities. Scientists use single-cell analyses to investigate these heterogeneities. But the method is still laborious and considerable inaccuracies conceal smaller effects. Scientists have now found a way to simplify and improve the analysis by mathematical methods.
Proteins are the molecular building blocks and machines of the cell and are involved in virtually every process of life. After protein production, many proteins are equipped with attachments such as sugar residues in order to perform their tasks properly. This process is directly coupled to the transport across a membrane. Employing various methods of structural biology, scientists have now gained insights into the architecture of the protein complex responsible for this process.