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  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

New GPCR structure: CXCR4 Chemokine Receptor (HIV and cancer target)

by Peter Nollert in Protein Crystallization Blog

Congratulations to Ray Stevens and team to determining and publishing the crystallographic structure of the CXCR4 Chemokine receptor in Science. The diffenent binding areas for the small molecule and peptide antagonist are nicely resolved and show extensive interactions with binding pocket residues in the 2.5 – 3.1 A crystal structures.... Read more »

Wu B, Chien EY, Mol CD, Fenalti G, Liu W, Katritch V, Abagyan R, Brooun A, Wells P, Bi FC.... (2010) Structures of the CXCR4 chemokine GPCR with small-molecule and cyclic peptide antagonists. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6007), 1066-71. PMID: 20929726  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

GPCR crystallization detergent space increased by 25%

by Peter Nollert in Emerald BioStructures Blog

The choice of detergents for GPCRs has just been increased by 25% with the introduction of MNGs - maltose neopentyl glycol amphiphiles. The agonist bound structure of the beta adrenergic receptor from crystals using this new detergent is announced in a recent paper.... Read more »

Newstead, S., Ferrandon, S., & Iwata, S. (2008) Rationalizing α-helical membrane protein crystallization. Protein Science, 17(3), 466-472. DOI: 10.1110/ps.073263108  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Diversity: It Matters! (for plants & algae)

by jebyrnes in I'm a chordata, urochordata!

Geological time has witnessed 5 extinction crises. Now we're in the middle of the 6th - this time driven by man. What's unprecedented, however, is the rate we are driving species extinct. For many taxa, it's faster than we've seen in geological time (see here for discussion).

So? Will vast reductions in the diversity of species on earth matter? I mean, heck, maybe we only need two or three of each taxa, and we’re all good. Or maybe not…

This question has ........ Read more »

Cardinale, B., Matulich, K., Hooper, D., Byrnes, J., Duffy, E., Gamfeldt, L., Balvanera, P., O'Connor, M., & Gonzalez, A. (2011) The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems. American Journal of Botany, 98(3), 572-592. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1000364  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Bays by the bay

by aewills in A Bouquet From Mendel

The California Bay tree (Umbellularia californica) is introduced, and a paper is discussed about headaches caused by the Bay tree ketone Umbellulone.... Read more »

Nassini R, Materazzi S, Vriens J, Prenen J, Benemei S, De Siena G, la Marca G, Andrè E, Preti D, Avonto C.... (2011) The 'headache tree' via umbellulone and TRPA1 activates the trigeminovascular system. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 22036959  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Evolution of "Natural" Sleep

by Cris Campbell in Originus

If you slept well last night and do so regularly, chances are you don’t give sleep much thought. It happens, is pleasurable, and you are refreshed. If you didn’t sleep well last night and do so irregularly, chances are you have given sleep a great deal of thought. It doesn’t happen, isn’t pleasurable, and you are fatigued.... Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Pink Slime: My beef with Jamie Oliver and Food Blogs

by Viet Le in Amasian Science

Examining the importance of accurate representations of science in food safety.... Read more »

Perna, N., Plunkett, G., Burland, V., Mau, B., Glasner, J., Rose, D., Mayhew, G., Evans, P., Gregor, J., Kirkpatrick, H.... (2001) Genome sequence of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. Nature, 409(6819), 529-533. DOI: 10.1038/35054089  

Diez-Gonzalez F, Callaway TR, Kizoulis MG, & Russell JB. (1998) Grain feeding and the dissemination of acid-resistant Escherichia coli from cattle. Science (New York, N.Y.), 281(5383), 1666-8. PMID: 9733511  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Lions And Tigers And Ligers, Oh My!

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Geographic isolation is often involved in speciation events. Here are examples of hybrid speciation involving a very localized isolation and a mating choice behavior.... Read more »

Jesús Mavárez1, Camilo A. Salazar, Eldredge Bermingham1, Christian Salcedo, Chris D. Jiggins . (2006) Speciation by hybridization in Heliconius butterflies. Nature, 868-871. DOI: 10.1038/nature04738  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

New Years Resolution, Reflection on Cancer Research

by Nicole Kelesoglu in E3 Engaging Epigenetics Experts

Recent news in cancer research points to the importance of epigenetics and cell signalling in producing complex combinational cures.... Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

A protein purification classic: Ammonium Sulfate Precipitation An underutilized way to purify proteins

by Dave Dilyx in Protein Solubility Blog

In the 'old days' - i.e. when protein purification meant going to the slaughterhouse to get raw materials such as placenta, brain or blood - the first real purification step was typically an ammonium sulfate precipitation. Of course, the natural tissue needs to be homogenized and solids removed by filtration or centrifugation. This first clarified feedstock contains a multitude of protein solutions, not that different from a modern-day E.coli lysate. Such lysates can be fractionated ac........ Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Not happy with expression in E.coli? Time for change.

by Dave Dilyx in Protein Solubility Blog

Sometimes all attempts to optimize the heterologous protein expression your protein aggregates during purification or, even worse, remains stubbornly insoluble. Or may be you just need milligrams of an eukaryotic protein, fast and don’t have time to play around with conditions and E.coli strains. Then it’s time to consider alternative expression systems, closer to the eukaryotic home of your protein.... Read more »

van Ooyen AJ, Dekker P, Huang M, Olsthoorn MM, Jacobs DI, Colussi PA, & Taron CH. (2006) Heterologous protein production in the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis. FEMS yeast research, 6(3), 381-92. PMID: 16630278  

Carlson, E., Gan, R., Hodgman, C., & Jewett, M. (2012) Cell-free protein synthesis: Applications come of age. Biotechnology Advances, 30(5), 1185-1194. DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.09.016  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM


by Eugenio Maria Battaglia in Science to Grok

In 2008, doctor Sergio Canavero, an italian neurosurgeon based in Turin, IT, have awakened a 20 years old lady from a permanent post-traumatic vegetative state, by means of a bifocal extradural cortical electro-stimulation. Today, while Science still find it hard to explain consciousness and embodied cognition – the world-class neurosurgeon made a shock announcement: “I’m ready for the first head transplant on a man.”

In the manuscript published on Surgical Neurology I........ Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Can RNAi be used as medicine?

by Nicole Kelesoglu in E3 Engaging Epigenetics Experts

A fun post with commentary about a recent clinical RNAi success story.... Read more »

Coelho T, Adams D, Silva A, Lozeron P, Hawkins PN, Mant T, Perez J, Chiesa J, Warrington S, Tranter E.... (2013) Safety and efficacy of RNAi therapy for transthyretin amyloidosis. The New England journal of medicine, 369(9), 819-29. PMID: 23984729  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

To Bee Or Not To Bee: How Bees Avoid Difficult Choices

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Humans who are faced with difficult choices are often tempted to simply opt out of making a choice, especially when they realize that they cannot easily resolve their uncertainty as to which choice is the better choice. Some researchers consider this ability to opt out as an indicator of “meta-cognition”, a term used to describe “thinking about thinking”. Instead of plowing ahead with a random choice, humans can recognize that they lack adequate information and choose not........ Read more »

Clint J. Perry, & Andrew B. Barron. (2013) Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314571110  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

The Science of Sleep

by Amy Swanston in Antisense Science

Feeling tired? I know I am. But what is it that makes us feel like we need to sleep? And what keeps us awake?
Within our bodies, a lot of systems work antagonistically to maintain homeostasis - that is, one action opposes another, keeping balance. There are two important forces that we use to control sleep: our sleep drive and our alerting signal. As the day goes on, the drive to sleep becomes greater and greater, so our alerting signal has to increase at the same rate to keep us awake. S........ Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Regenerating the aged thymus

by Caroline Hendry in the Node

The latest issue of Development includes a paper by Clare Blackburn and colleagues at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, showing that the aged mouse thymus can be regenerated in vivo by the upregulation of a single transcription factor, FOXN1.... Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

At the origin of the aphid-ant mutualism

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

Several hemipteran species are involved in mutualistic relationships with ants so that aphids produce honeydew, a sweet waste product enriched in sugar and aminoacids, that ants collect as a supply for their diet. In return...... Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

How sex-engineered prawns can be used to fight deadly parasite

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

Scientists float the idea of introducing male-only prawn stocks to Senegal river to control spread of snails which act as vector for blood flukes... Read more »

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

...How to Fix Science

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

(Part 2/2) However, we can fix science. [Infographic]... Read more »

Alberts, B., Kirschner, M., Tilghman, S., & Varmus, H. (2014) Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16), 5773-5777. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404402111  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

The geometry of consciousness is a multi-dimensional math trip

by amanda alvarez in It Ain't Magic

Amanda Alvarez writes about how neuroscientists are studying consciousness with mathematics.... Read more »

Oizumi M, Tsuchiya N, & Amari SI. (2016) Unified framework for information integration based on information geometry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(51), 14817-14822. PMID: 27930289  

  • November 30, -1
  • 12:00 AM

Robotic researcher to the rescue

by kylius wilkins in It Ain't Magic

Masaki Watabe talks about automated robotic researchers, future robot rule, and scientific philosophy.... Read more »

Watabe, M., Arjunan, S., Fukushima, S., Iwamoto, K., Kozuka, J., Matsuoka, S., Shindo, Y., Ueda, M., & Takahashi, K. (2015) A Computational Framework for Bioimaging Simulation. PLOS ONE, 10(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130089  

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