Biotechnology

Scientists have developed a way to grow iron-oxidizing bacteria using electricity instead of iron, an advance that will allow them to better study the organisms and could one day be used to turn electricity into fuel. The study will be published on January 29 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

January 30, 2013 04:45 AM

Many different tissues and organs form from pluripotent stem cells during embryonic development. To date it had been known that these processes are controlled by transcription factors for specific tissues. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, in collaboration with colleagues at MIT and the Broad Institute in Boston, have now been able to demonstrate that RNA molecules, which do not act as templates for protein synthesis, participate in these processes as well. The scientists knocked down a gene for long non-coding RNA molecules (lncRNA) and thereby disrupted the development of the heart to an extent that was lethal to the embryos. Genesis of the ventral body wall was also impaired. It became apparent that the lncRNA participates in controlling transcription factors that themselves are responsible for controlling tissue- and organogenesis. The lncRNA itself thus acts as a modulating factor in these processes.

Molecular & Cell Biology

Just like a comic book super hero, you could say that the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has a secret identity. Since its discovery in 1969, scientists believed SOD1's only role was to protect living cells against damage from free radicals. Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered that SOD1 protects cells by regulating cell energy and metabolism. The results of their research were published January 17, 2013, in the journal Cell.




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