Biology News

Using microRNA Fit to a T (cell) Monday, November 25, 2013 - 18:04

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have successfully targeted T lymphocytes – which play a central role in the body’s immune response – with another type of white blood cell engineered to synthesize and deliver bits of non-coding RNA or microRNA (miRNA).

 

Misfolded proteins are capable of forming tree-like aggregates Monday, November 25, 2013 - 17:39

A method by Rice University researchers to model the way proteins fold – and sometimes misfold – has revealed branching behavior that may have implications for Alzheimer’s and other aggregation diseases.

 

A possible cause of the end-Permian mass extinction: Lemon juice? Monday, November 25, 2013 - 10:47

Rain as acidic as undiluted lemon juice may have played a part in killing off plants and organisms around the world during the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history. About 252 million years ago, the end of the Permian period brought about a worldwide collapse known as the Great Dying, during which a vast majority of species went extinct.

 

How long does it take a virus to infect a cell? Monday, November 25, 2013 - 10:14

The key pathway by which viruses “attack” consists in releasing viral DNA into the infected cell, taking over the host cell’s transcription mechanisms and using them to reproduce itself. In order to fight or exploit to our benefit the action of viruses, scientists are trying to understand this process in detail. A group of researchers–one of whom from SISSA–has studied the timescale of DNA “ejection” (how long it takes and what is the precise sequence of events), and found that it depends on the degree and manner of entanglement of the double strand of DNA inside the virus.

Different cellular mechanisms behind regenerated body parts Friday, November 22, 2013 - 10:45

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have discovered that two separate species of salamander differ in the way their muscles grow back in lost body parts. Their findings on the species-specific solutions, published in the scientific periodical Cell Stem Cell, demonstrate there is more than one mechanism of tissue regeneration.

 

Fungus-Fighting Drug May Make Mild Flu Meaner Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 11:43

Mice given a drug commonly used in patients to fight systemic fungal infections more often succumb to what would otherwise be a mild case of the flu. The evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on November 21st shows that the drug called Amphotericin B, which has an estimated $330 million in sales around the world each year, can render a protein important for antiviral defense ineffective in both cells and mice.

 

Newborn Babies Have Built-in Body Awareness Ability Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 11:30

The ability to differentiate your own body from others is a fundamental skill, critical for humans' ability to interact with their environments and the people in them. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on November 21 provide some of the first evidence that newborn babies enter the world with the essential mechanisms for this kind of body awareness already in place.

 

New Findings Could Help Target the Bacteria That Cause Lyme Disease and Syphilis Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 14:02

The bacterial pathogens that cause Lyme disease and syphilis are highly invasive. These pathogens, or spirochetes, can invade the central nervous system and, in the case of syphilis, enter the placenta, causing disease in the unborn child. In the November 19 issue of the Biophysical Journal, a Cell Press publication, researchers provide new insights into how these spirochetes penetrate tissue barriers. The findings might be used to develop new treatment strategies to help affected patients or even prevent infections.