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[ An Improved Method Of Imaging Proteins ]

An Improved Method Of Imaging Proteins

Using a unique facility in the US, researchers at the University of Gothenburg have found a more effective way of imaging proteins. The next step is to film how proteins work - at molecular level. Mapping the structure of proteins and the work they do in cells could be the key to cures for everything from cancer to malaria. Last year Richard Neutze, professor of biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, and his research group were among the first in the world to image proteins using very short and intensive X-ray pulses. In a new study published in Nature Methods, the method has been tested on a new type of protein, with good results. "To put it simply, we've developed a new method of creating incredibly small protein crystals, " says Linda Johansson, doctoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and lead author of the article.

Primitive Gut's Role In Left-Right Patterning

Scientists have found that the gut endoderm has a significant role in propagating the information that determines whether organs develop in the stereotypical left-right pattern. Their findings are published 6 March 2012 in the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology. Superficially, we appear bilaterally symmetrical. Nonetheless, the stereotypical placement of our organs reveals a stereotypical internal asymmetry. For example, the heart is located on the left, while the liver is located on the right side. How this inherent left-right asymmetry is established is an area of interest, because of both its intrinsic biological significance, as well as for its medical applications. In the mouse, which is an experimentally tractable mammalian model system, a body of work has shown that the initial event that breaks left-right symmetry occurs at the node, a specialized organ located in the midline of the developing embryo.

Researcher's New Study May Lead To MRIs On A Nanoscale

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the nanoscale and the ever-elusive quantum computer are among the advancements edging closer toward the realm of possibility, and a new study co-authored by a UC Santa Barbara researcher may give both an extra nudge. The findings appear in Science Express, an online version of the journal Science. Ania Bleszynski Jayich, an assistant professor of physics who joined the UCSB faculty in 2010, spent a year at Harvard working on an experiment that coupled nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond to nanomechanical resonators. That project is the basis for the new paper, "Coherent sensing of a mechanical resonator with a single spin qubit." A nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center is a specific defect in diamond that exhibits a quantum magnetic behavior known as spin. When a single spin in diamond is coupled with a magnetic mechanical resonator - a device used to generate or select specific frequencies - it points toward the potential for a new nanoscale sensing technique with implications for biology and technology, Jayich explained.

With A Newly Developed Math Equation, New Insights Could Come On Cell Development And Drug Therapies

Neither births nor deaths stop the flocking of organisms. They just keep moving, says theoretical physicist John J. Toner of the University of Oregon. The notion, he says, has implications in biology and eventually could point to new cancer therapies. Picture any scenario in which self-propelled organisms -- animals, birds, bacteria, molecules within cells, cancer cells, fish, and even tiny plastic rods on a vibrating table -- move as a swarm or flock in the same direction. Eighteen years ago, Toner co-developed two equations that together provide a complete theory of flocking for "immortal" flocks -- those in which creatures are not being born and dying while the moving. Now he has extended that work to include the effects of birth and death. The new equations are as complete a description of flocks as the Navier-Stokes equation is of fluid dynamics.

Bacteria, When Dying, Share Some Characteristics With Higher Organisms

Do bacteria, like higher organisms, have a built-in program that tells them when to die? The process of apoptosis, or cell death, is an important part of normal animal development. In a new study published in the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology, Hanna Engelberg-Kulka and colleagues (at Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel) have described for the first time a novel cell death pathway in bacteria that is similar to apoptosis in higher organisms. They also found that this newly described apoptotic-like death (ALD) pathway was inhibited by another non-apoptotic programmed cell death (PCD) pathway, mediated through the mazEF toxin-antitoxin system. Engelberg-Kulka and colleagues were surprised to find two very different death pathways in E. coli.

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