A transport protein that is used by the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis to import vitamin B12 turns out to be very different from other transport proteins. It contains a huge water-filled cavity, in which hydrophilic substances are transported across the cell membrane. This discovery, which changes our understanding of bacterial physiology, was made by imaging the transport protein using cryo-electron microscopy. The results were published in the journal Nature on 26 March.
Researchers have developed the first computational model of a human cell and simulated its behavior for 15 minutes -- the longest time achieved for a biological system of this complexity. In a new study, simulations reveal the effects of spatial organization within cells on some of the genetic processes that control the regulation and development of human traits and some human diseases.
In a new study, researchers have computationally modeled the various brains and bodies of a species of weakly electric fish, the glass knifefish (Eigenmannia virescens), to successfully simulate 'fish brain transplants' and investigate.
Researchers at Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) have developed a device that moves fluids over corneal cells similarly to the movement of tears over a blinking eye. The scientists hope their findings, reported in the journal Lab on a Chip, will help improve ophthalmic drug development and testing, and advance understanding of how blinking affects the corneal surface.
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has developed a new photosynthetic protein system enabling an enhanced and more sustainable approach to solar-powered technological devices. The initiative is part of a broader effort in the field of synthetic biology to use proteins in place of man-made materials which are often scarce, expensive and can be harmful to the environment when the device becomes obsolete.
Belying their slimy natures, the sticky patches of bacteria called biofilms often form intricate, starburst-like patterns as they grow. Now, researchers at Princeton University have combined expertise in molecular biology, mechanical engineering and mathematical modeling to unravel the physical processes underlying these curious crinkles.
The field of 'brain-mimicking' neuromorphic electronics shows great potential for basic research and commercial applications, and researchers in Germany and Switzerland recently explored the possibility of reproducing the physics of real neural circuits by using the physics of silicon. In Applied Physics Letters, they present their work to understand neural processing systems, as well as a recipe to reproduce these computing principles in mixed signal analog/digital electronics and novel materials.
Biohydrogels have been studied closely for their potential use in biomedical applications, but they often move between sols and gels, depending on their temperature, changes that can pose issues depending on the intended use. In Physics of Fluids, researchers discuss their work studying the effect of temperature on hydrogels. They found that creating hydrogels at room temperature or below results in more robust materials that function more effectively when used in the body.
Most implantable monitors for drug levels and biomarkers invented so far rely on high tech and expensive detectors such as CT scans or MRI. Now Melbourne, Australia researchers have developed the first biosensor that can be used in vivo, inside a body, able to emit signals that can be detected by common ultrasound scanners.
Lithuanian scientists have devised a spinal stabilization exercise program for managing lower back pain for people who perform a sedentary job. After testing the program with 70 volunteers, the researchers have found that the exercises are not only efficient in diminishing the non-specific lower back pain, but their effect lasts 3 times longer than that of a usual muscle strengthening exercise program.