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Category: Microbiology


This is a ribbon diagram showing the tertiary structure with secondary-structure elements identified and labeled.
The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which has claimed more than 2000 lives, has highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of the molecular biology of the virus that could be critical in the development of vaccines or antiviral drugs to treat or prevent Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Now, a team at the University of Virginia (UVA), USA – under the leadership of Dr Dan Engel, a virologist, and Dr Zygmunt Derewenda, a structural biologist – has obtained the crystal structure of a key protein involved in Ebola virus replication, the C-terminal domain of the Zaire Ebola virus nucleoprotein (NP) [Dziubanska et al. (2014). Acta Cryst. D70, 2420-2429; doi:10.1107/S1399004714014710].

Full articleSeptember 15, 2014 05:20 PM931 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

Leaky intestines may cripple bacteria-fighting immune cells in patients with a rare hereditary disease, according to a study by researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland. The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine on September 15, may explain why these patients suffer from recurrent bacterial infections.

Full articleSeptember 15, 2014 05:20 PM532 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified a highly sensitive means of analyzing very tiny amounts of DNA. The discovery, they say, could increase the ability of forensic scientists to match genetic material in some criminal investigations. It could also prevent the need for a painful, invasive test given to transplant patients at risk of rejecting their donor organs and replace it with a blood test that reveals traces of donor DNA.

Full articleSeptember 15, 2014 05:20 PM590 views
Category: Microbiology

For multicellular life—plants and animals—to thrive in the oceans, there must be enough dissolved oxygen in the water. In certain coastal areas, extreme oxygen-starvation produces "dead zones" that decimate marine fisheries and destroy food web structure. As dissolved oxygen levels decline, energy is increasingly diverted away from multicellular life into microbial community metabolism resulting in impacts on the ecology and biogeochemistry of the ocean.

Full articleSeptember 15, 2014 05:20 PM437 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans' unique ability to produce and understand speech.

Full articleSeptember 15, 2014 05:20 PM539 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

University at Buffalo researchers and colleagues studying a rare, blistering disease have discovered new details of how autoantibodies destroy healthy cells in skin. This information provides new insights into autoimmune mechanisms in general and could help develop and screen treatments for patients suffering from all autoimmune diseases, estimated to affect 5-10 percent of the U.S. population.

Full articleSeptember 10, 2014 07:06 PM2756 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

As we and other vertebrates age, our DNA accumulates mutations and becomes rearranged, which may result in a variety of age-related illnesses, including cancers. Biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov have now discovered one reason for the increasing DNA damage: the primary repair process begins to fail with increasing age and is replaced by one that is less accurate.

Full articleSeptember 10, 2014 07:06 PM1647 views
Category: Bioinformatics


Lucia Carbone, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine and an assistant scientist at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center.
A team led by an Oregon Health & Science University researcher has sequenced and annotated the genome of the only ape whose DNA had yet to be sequenced — the gibbon, an endangered small ape that inhabits the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

Full articleSeptember 10, 2014 07:06 PM1191 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

The information encoded in our genes is translated into proteins, which ultimately mediate biological functions in an organism. Messenger RNA (mRNA) plays an important role, as it is the molecular template used for translation. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen and the Technische Universität Muenchen, in collaboration with international colleagues, have now unraveled a molecular mechanism of mRNA recognition, which is essential for understanding differential gene regulation in male and female organisms. The results are published in the renowned scientific journal Nature.

Full articleSeptember 8, 2014 04:27 PM2151 views
Category: Health & Medicine

Raw honey has been used against infections for millennia, before honey - as we now know it - was manufactured and sold in stores. So what is the key to its' antimicrobial properties? Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in fresh honey, from the honey stomach of bees. The bacteria produce a myriad of active antimicrobial compounds.

Full articleSeptember 8, 2014 04:27 PM5353 views
Category: Biology

It's hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse.

Full articleSeptember 3, 2014 05:17 AM5995 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

All human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence – their genetic information. How is it possible that shapes and functions of cells in the different parts of the body are so different? While every cell's DNA contains the same construction master plan, an additional regulatory layer exists that determines which of the many possible DNA programs are active. This mechanism involves modifications of genome-bound histone proteins or the DNA itself with small chemical groups (e.g. methylation). It acts on top of the genetic information and is thus called 'epi'-genetic from the corresponding Greek word that means 'above' or 'attached to'.

Full articleSeptember 3, 2014 05:17 AM2212 views
Category: Biology

Move over antibiotic ointment, there might be a new salve to dominate medicine cabinets of the future, and it comes from an unlikely place—the lowly salamander. Salamanders may not be the cuddliest of animals, but they can regenerate lost limbs and achieve amazing recovery of seriously damaged body parts. Now, a new report published in the September 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, identifies a small protein (called a "peptide") from the skin of salamanders that may be the key to unlocking the secret of this amazing wound healing trick in humans.

Full articleSeptember 3, 2014 05:17 AM3819 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology


This image depicts a tumor with reduced levels of enzyme UBC13 (top) and a control tumor (bottom) that has spread to the lungs.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified an enzyme that controls the spread of breast cancer. The findings, reported in the current issue of PNAS, offer hope for the leading cause of breast cancer mortality worldwide. An estimated 40,000 women in America will die of breast cancer in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.

Full articleSeptember 3, 2014 05:17 AM3914 views

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