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All posts; Tags Include "Biochemistry"

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  • January 6, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 290 views

Friday Fellow: Conan the Bacterium

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Most people would agree that 2016 was a hard year. So let’s try to make 2017 better by starting this year with a tough Friday Fellow, actually the toughest of them all: Conan the bacterium, or Deinococcus … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 28, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 234 views

Friday Fellow: Sun Beetle

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Who says beetles cannot be cute? Take a look at those guys: These little fellows are beetles of the species Pachnoda marginata, commonly known as sun beetle or taxi cab beetle. Native from Africa, they reach up … Continue reading →... Read more »

Stensmyr, Marcus C., Larsson, Mattias C., Bice, Shannon, & Hansson, Bill S. (2001) Detection of fruit- and flower-emitted volatiles by olfactory receptor neurons in the polyphagous fruit chafer Pachnoda marginata (Coleoptera: Cetoniinae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 187(7), 509-519. info:/

  • September 22, 2016
  • 09:27 AM
  • 591 views

Will tardigrades get humanity into space?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The mighty water bear Tardigrades, aka water bears, are tiny animals that can be found just about everywhere on earth, with a slight preference for the moisture in moss. They happily amble along on their four pairs of legs and slurp up plant cells, algae, and even smaller invertebrates that can’t get away fast enough […]... Read more »

Boothby TC, Tenlen JR, Smith FW, Wang JR, Patanella KA, Nishimura EO, Tintori SC, Li Q, Jones CD, Yandell M.... (2015) Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(52), 15976-81. PMID: 26598659  

Koutsovoulos G, Kumar S, Laetsch DR, Stevens L, Daub J, Conlon C, Maroon H, Thomas F, Aboobaker AA, & Blaxter M. (2016) No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(18), 5053-8. PMID: 27035985  

Hashimoto T, Horikawa DD, Saito Y, Kuwahara H, Kozuka-Hata H, Shin-I T, Minakuchi Y, Ohishi K, Motoyama A, Aizu T.... (2016) Extremotolerant tardigrade genome and improved radiotolerance of human cultured cells by tardigrade-unique protein. Nature communications, 12808. PMID: 27649274  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 06:52 AM
  • 583 views

Roger Tsien – the scientist that colored our research

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

Roger Tsien died a few days ago, at the relatively young age of 64. He was a UCSD scientist, a Nobel laureate and he was one of the first to see the significance and usefulness of GFP. I’ve never met him. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 26, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 513 views

Friday Fellow: Six-Spot Burnet

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Found in Europe, today’s Friday Fellow is a nice day-flying moth with beautiful colors and toxic compounds. Scientifically known as Zygaena filipendulae, its common name is six-spot burnet, burnet being the common name of moths in the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 25, 2016
  • 09:40 AM
  • 608 views

How to rebuild a brain

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

After the stroke The human brain is complicated. Very complicated. And like any piece of complex machinery that relies on the smooth functioning of many components, it’s not immune to malfunction. When a part of the brain doesn’t get proper nutrition through a nice and smooth blood flow, things go awry and a stroke occurs. […]... Read more »

  • August 19, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 484 views

Friday Fellow: Asian Pigeonwing

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow is a creeping (but not creepy) plant with nice deep blue flowers shaped like a human female genitalia. Yeah, you read that right. Its scientific name is Clitoria ternatea, the genus name being a … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 18, 2016
  • 08:00 AM
  • 561 views

Sorry, I Don't Drink

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Koalas don’t drink a lot of water, but the spinifex hopping mouse and kangaroo rat put him to shame. They never drink. What water they need they get from the seeds they eat and from the fact that they conserve water amazingly well – including the water that they produce during metabolism. Adult mayflies don’t drink either – they don’t have working mouthparts! Of course, some only live a few minutes as adults, so it may not be that big a deal.... Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 06:50 AM
  • 702 views

Take Off Your Coat And Stay Awhile

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The naked mole rat is quite naked, but a lack of hair does help it move around in its environment. Other mammals that are supposedly hairless aren’t really, even dolphins have a few hairs. Of course, some humans and other mammals can have autoimmune disease mutations that make them completely hairless. For the naked mole rat it was a strange adaptation with strange results – it has become the only cold-blooded (ectothermic) mammal!... Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 651 views

The Perils of Plant Monogamy

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The philodendron that raises its temperature to attract a certain beetle is an exception. Most plants invite many different pollinators, but a few have only a single pollinator species. This leads to some interesting adaptations and some even funkier smells.... Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 07:28 AM
  • 808 views

An equation for life

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Water churns. Earth moves. Molecules jostle and chemicals mix. Between heaven and hell, a young planet finds itself in full flux. Developing. Forming. Star stuff rains down and forged elements bubble up. Then it happens. It seems as if it’s just another chemical match-up, another reaction in the vast library of possibilities. But it would […]... Read more »

Scharf C, & Cronin L. (2016) Quantifying the origins of life on a planetary scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27382156  

  • July 8, 2016
  • 12:38 PM
  • 590 views

FNIP1 and FNIP2 inhibit Hsp90 chaperone cycle and enhance drug binding

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Heat shock protein-90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone required for folding, stability and activity of many proteins, known as clients, including drivers of tumour initiation, progression and metastasis (Rohl et al. 2013). ATPase binding and hydrolysis is essential for the chaperone function of Hsp90. ATPase function is regulated by other proteins known as co-chaperones. In an interesting new study, Woodford et al. (2016) show that the stability of the tumour suppressor folliculin (FLCN), whose ........ Read more »

Woodford MR, Dunn DM, Blanden AR, Capriotti D, Loiselle D, Prodromou C, Panaretou B, Hughes PF, Smith A, Ackerman W.... (2016) The FNIP co-chaperones decelerate the Hsp90 chaperone cycle and enhance drug binding. Nature communications, 12037. PMID: 27353360  

  • July 6, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 702 views

Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just My Philodendron?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It is usually animals that are referred to as endotherms or ectotherms – plants can’t regulate their temperature, right? Don’t tell that to a certain philodendron that can spike the temperature of its flowers to more than 113˚F on two nights of the year, just to attract the beetles that will pollinate it.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2016
  • 08:01 AM
  • 479 views

Design guidlines for tandem fluorescent timers

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

Almost 4 years ago, I wrote a post on tandem fluorescent timers (tFTs). The idea is to have two different fluorescent proteins fused together to the protein of interest. In the paper from 4 years ago, it was superfolder GFP … Continue reading →... Read more »

Khmelinskii A, Meurer M, Ho CT, Besenbeck B, Füller J, Lemberg MK, Bukau B, Mogk A, & Knop M. (2016) Incomplete proteasomal degradation of green fluorescent proteins in the context of tandem fluorescent protein timers. Molecular biology of the cell, 27(2), 360-70. PMID: 26609072  

  • June 15, 2016
  • 08:05 AM
  • 670 views

Tricky Little Buggers

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Evolution brings wisdom with age – and bacteria are ancient. Bacteria have evolved defenses ranging from evasion or inhibition of immune systems to protecting crucial functions from environmental injury. New studies have identified spring-loaded spikes that can be assembled and disassembled for puncturing other bacteria and delivering toxins, while other work is focused on using those same toxins to kill antibiotic resistant organisms, with E. coli have been engineered to produce toxins ag........ Read more »

Basler, M., Pilhofer, M., Henderson, G., Jensen, G., & Mekalanos, J. (2012) Type VI secretion requires a dynamic contractile phage tail-like structure. Nature, 483(7388), 182-186. DOI: 10.1038/nature10846  

Saeidi, N., Wong, C., Lo, T., Nguyen, H., Ling, H., Leong, S., Poh, C., & Chang, M. (2011) Engineering microbes to sense and eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a human pathogen. Molecular Systems Biology. DOI: 10.1038/msb.2011.55  

  • June 1, 2016
  • 08:10 AM
  • 597 views

The Dirt On Staying Healthy

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Triclosan is the active ingredient in many anti-bacterial products, but does it make our environment too clean? The hygiene hypothesis states that early childhood exposure to certain antigens can help to balance and control the immune system, and therefore result in lower levels of food and seasonal allergies. One particularly important antigen seems to be arabinogalactan, a fiber/sugar molecule found on farms – maybe that’s why farmers’ kids have lower levels of food and other........ Read more »

Gennady Cherednichenkoa, Rui Zhanga, Roger A. Bannisterb,Valeriy Timofeyevc, Ning Lic, Erika B. Fritscha, Wei Fenga, Genaro C. Barrientosa, Nils H. Schebbd, Bruce D. Hammockd, Kurt G. Beame, Nipavan Chiamvimonvatc, and Isaac N. Pessaha. (2012) Triclosan impairs excitation–contraction coupling and Ca2 dynamics in striated muscle. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211314109  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 845 views

Are our gut bacteria the key to immortality?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »

De Winter, G. (2014) Aging as Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 18(2), 237-243. DOI: 10.1007/s11019-014-9600-y  

Biagi E, Franceschi C, Rampelli S, Severgnini M, Ostan R, Turroni S, Consolandi C, Quercia S, Scurti M, Monti D.... (2016) Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity. Current biology : CB. PMID: 27185560  

  • May 18, 2016
  • 09:15 AM
  • 805 views

Ironing Out The Black Death

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The black plague has taken the lives of millions over the centuries. Recent evidence shows that a small number of genetic changes were required to allow Y. pestis to use fleas as a vector. This increased Y. pestis virulence in humans, and might have wiped us out if it weren't for a genetic disease called hereditary hemochromatosis.... Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 06:50 AM
  • 745 views

Viva La Evolution

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

In our continuing story of how being sick can save you, how about three genetic diseases and a genetic condition that can save you from malaria. The genetic diseases might kill you, but usually after you procreate, and that is better for the species than being killed by malaria as a child. Evolution is an emotionless mistress.... Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 08:35 AM
  • 846 views

Your Body Has A Photographic Memory

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

For the first time anywhere - an easy explanation of your immune system in 1500 words! For the low, low price of zero dollars you can find out how your body protects you better the second time you are exposed to a disease. Special bonus offer – we’ll throw in how vaccines work and why you need one every year for the flu, although your old flu vaccines might still be helping you. ... Read more »

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