Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have used one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to reveal the structure of a large protein complex crucial to photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into cellular energy. The finding will allow scientists to explore for the first time how the complex functions, and could have implications for the production of a variety of bioproducts, including plastic alternatives and biofuels.
Using Shrinky Dinks, a popular children's toy, engineers at the University of California, Irvine have created wearable, disposable respiration sensors that track the rate and volume of a wearer's breath. The new device will help sufferers of asthma and many other pulmonary conditions.
If a structure has a gap or entrance large enough for brown marmorated stink bugs to fit through, they will find it. But a new study shows that slits less than 3 millimeters wide and holes less than 7 millimeters wide should successfully exclude the vast majority of the bugs. A related study examines how overwintering stink bugs react to corpses of their fellow bugs remaining from previous winters.
A study published in Cell shows that plants favor the production of uneven, asymmetrical patterns on the surface of pollen grains over more symmetrical patterns.
Human beings are not the only ones who suffer from stress -- even microorganisms can be affected. Now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have devised a new method to study how single biological cells react to stressful situations. Understanding these responses could help develop more effective drugs for serious diseases. As well as that, the research could even help to brew better beer.
The detection of physical forces is one of the most complex challenges facing science. Considered to play a decisive role in many biological processes, the chemical tools to visualize the physical forces in action do not exist. But today, researchers from UNIGE and NCCR in Chemical Biology have developed probes inspired by lobster cooking, they enable to enter into cells. For the first time, physical forces can be imaged live inside the cells.
Computational surveys show that after folding enzymes still remain partially frustrated at their active site to allow catalysis targeting. Parts of the protein distant from the enzymatic center also show evidence of frustration to support the active site.
Termite construction projects have no architects, engineers or foremen, and yet these centimeter-sized insects build complex, meter-sized structures all over the world. Harvard researchers demonstrate how simple rules linking environmental physics and animal behavior can give rise to these structures. Their research sheds lights on broader questions of swarm intelligence and may serve as inspiration for designing more sustainable human architecture.
Our cells sometimes have to squeeze through pretty tight spaces. And when they do, the nuclei inside must go along for the ride. Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, a team of scientists have made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak. The finding could be key to untangling the mechanisms underlying several genetic diseases.
Aggregates of the protein tau are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers studying how these fibrils form have been unable to explain why different sizes appear in disease based on what we know about how they grow. Now, researchers have discovered that instead of adding just one protein at a time, fibrils can join end-to-end to create one longer cable. The finding may help researchers understand how drug candidates designed to delay tau aggregation work.