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How a bacterial cell recognizes its own DNA

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.

Apr 15th, 2015

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Millions of liters of juice from 1 grapefruit

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.

Apr 15th, 2015

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Versatile switch for light-controlled cells

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.

Apr 9th, 2015

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Engineering cell circuits

By mutually inhibiting signaling through a crucial developmental pathway, cells connected by an intercellular signaling circuit can be induced to change their fate.

Apr 3rd, 2015

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Pick a color, any color

A small team of scientists can synthesize molecules that will absorb any color of sunlight from the oranges through the near-infrared, greatly expanding the palette of light-harvesting molecules.

Apr 2nd, 2015

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Novel tissue substitute made of high-tech fibers

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.

Apr 1st, 2015

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