Biology News

Scientists Discover a Better Way to Make Unnatural Amino Acids Friday, March 14, 2014 - 08:55

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised a greatly improved technique for making amino acids not found in nature. These “unnatural” amino acids traditionally have been very difficult to synthesize, but are sought after by the pharmaceutical industry for their potential medical uses.

 

Commonly Used Pain Relievers Have Added Benefit of Fighting Bacterial Infection Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 11:07

Some commonly used drugs that combat aches and pains, fever, and inflammation are also thought to have the ability to kill bacteria. New research appearing online on March 13 in the Cell Press journal Chemistry & Biology reveals that these drugs, better known as NSAIDs, act on bacteria in a way that is fundamentally different from current antibiotics. The discovery could open up new strategies for fighting drug-resistant infections and ”superbugs.”

 

Mystery of client selection of chaperone Hsp90 solved Friday, March 7, 2014 - 11:50

Colleagues in Europe and America have solved the mystery of how one of the most important chaperone proteins in our cells, Hsp90, selects its client proteins. Hsp90 plays a role in nearly all processes in our cells, as well as in the origin of diseases such as Alzheimer disease, cancer and cystic fibrosis. Insight into the binding process of Hsp90 will increase our understanding of the origin of these diseases, thereby opening new avenues to prevent or cure them. The results of the research were published in Cell.

 

Resetting Our Clocks: New Details About How the Body Tells Time Friday, March 7, 2014 - 09:36

Springing clocks forward by an hour this Sunday, traveling across time zones, staring at a computer screen late at night or working the third shift are just a few examples of activities that can disrupt our daily, or circadian, rhythms. These roughly 24-hour cycles influence our physiology and behavior, and they're driven by our body's network of tiny timekeepers. If our daily routines fall out of sync with our body clocks, sleep, metabolic and other disorders can result.

 

Computational Tool Offers New Insight Into Key Biological Processes Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 09:34

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a computational tool designed to guide future research on biochemical pathways by identifying which components in a biological system are related to specific biochemical processes, including those processes responsible for gene expression, cell signaling, stress response, and metabolism.

 

Plague demographics in driving evolution of the immune systems of both Europeans and Rroma Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 10:54

The medical history of Europe has been punctuated by epidemics including plague, smallpox and influenza. This has driven evolution of elements of the immune system from Europeans and Rroma (Gypsies) - populations of different genetic ancestry but living in the same areas- to converge. Plague is a major factor that has shaped these converged immune system elements of both modern Europeans and Rroma. These are the findings of a paper in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from a team of researchers from Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and India.

 

Quantifying Folded and Misfolded Protein Levels in Cells Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 07:26

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have invented small-molecule folding probes that enable them to quantify functional, normally folded and disease-associated misfolded conformations (shapes) of a protein-of-interest in cells under different conditions.

 

Yeast model reveals Alzheimer’s drug candidate and its mechanism of action Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 18:30

Using a yeast model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a drug that reduces levels of the toxic protein fragment amyloid-β (Aβ) and prevents at least some of the cellular damage caused when Ab accumulates in the brains of AD patients.