Tag Archives: Biochemistry

DNA’s dynamic nature makes it well-suited to serve as the blueprint of life

A new study could explain why DNA and not RNA, its older chemical cousin, is the main repository of genetic information. The DNA double helix is a more forgiving molecule that can contort itself into different shapes to absorb chemical damage to the basic building blocks — A, G, C and T — of genetic […]

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Artificial pancreas likely to be available by 2018

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  The artificial pancreas — a device which monitors blood glucose in patients with type 1 diabetes and then automatically adjusts levels of insulin entering the body — is likely to be available by 2018, conclude authors of a paper in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes). Issues such […]

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Copper-induced misfolding of prion proteins

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Iowa State University researchers have described with single-molecule precision how copper ions cause prion proteins to misfold and seed the misfolding and clumping of nearby prion proteins. The researchers also found the copper-induced misfolding and clumping is associated with inflammation and damage to nerve cells in brain tissue from a mouse model. Prions are abnormal, […]

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* Research suggests a way to identify animals at risk of blood clots

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Patients who are critically ill, be they dog, cat or human, have a tendency toward blood clotting disorders. When the formation of a clot takes too long, it puts them at risk of uncontrolled bleeding. But the other extreme is also dangerous; if blood clots too readily, it can lead to organ failure or even […]

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Using magnetic forces to control neurons, study finds brain is vital in glucose metabolism

A new tool to control the activity of neurons in mice avoids the downfalls of current methods by using magnetic forces to remotely control the flow of ions into specifically targeted cells. Applying this method to a group of neurons in the hypothalamus, researchers found that the brain plays a surprisingly vital role in maintaining […]

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Researchers work on lowering greenhouse gas emissions from poultry houses

The University of Delaware’s Hong Li is part of a research team looking at how adding alum as an amendment to poultry litter reduces ammonia and greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, in poultry houses. Li partnered with researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of Tennessee and Oklahoma […]

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Devising an inexpensive, quick tuberculosis test for developing areas

Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious disease and a major global health problem, especially in countries with developing health care systems. Because there is no fast, easy way to detect TB, the deadly infection can spread quickly through communities. Now, a team reports in ACS Sensors the development of a rapid, sensitive and low-cost method […]

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New class of DNA repair enzyme discovered

This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry was given to three scientists who each focused on one piece of the DNA repair puzzle. Now a new study, reported online Oct. 28 in the journal Nature, reports the discovery of a new class of DNA repair enzyme. When the structure of DNA was first discovered, scientists imagined […]

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* Imitating viruses to deliver drugs to cells

Viruses are able to redirect the functioning of cells in order to infect them. Inspired by their mode of action, scientists from the CNRS and Université de Strasbourg have designed a “chemical virus” that can cross the double lipid layer that surrounds cells, and then disintegrate in the intracellular medium in order to release active […]

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Activated neurons produce protective protein against neurodegenerative conditions

Activated neurons produce a protein that protects against nerve cell death. Prof. Dr. Hilmar. When nerve cells die, e.g. as a result of a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or through age-related processes, the result may be considerable impairments of memory. Earlier studies led by Prof. Bading have shown that brain activity counteracts the death of nerve […]

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Molecular inhibitor breaks cycle that leads to Alzheimer’s

A molecular chaperone has been found to inhibit a key stage in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and break the toxic chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells, a new study shows. The research provides an effective basis for searching for candidate molecules that could be used to treat the condition. It […]

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* Nasal test developed for to diagnose Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

A nasal brush test can rapidly and accurately diagnose Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), an incurable and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder, according to a study by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their Italian colleagues. Up to now, a definitive CJD diagnosis requires testing brain tissue obtained after death or by biopsy in living patients. The […]

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Potential ‘universal’ blood test for cancer discovered

Researchers from the University of Bradford have devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. The test will enable doctors to rule out cancer in patients presenting with certain symptoms, saving time and preventing costly and unnecessary invasive procedures such as colonoscopies and biopsies being carried […]

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* Scientists reproduce evolutionary changes by manipulating embryonic development of mice

A group of researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have been able to experimentally reproduce morphological changes in mice which took millions of years to occur. in nature Through small and gradual modifications in the embryonic development of mice teeth, induced in the laboratory, scientists have obtained teeth which […]

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Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger: More progress with GDF 11, anti-aging protein

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In two separate papers given early online release today by the journal Science — which is publishing the papers this coming Friday, Professors Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin, of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), report that injections of a protein known as GDF11, which is found in humans as well as […]

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* Cutting cancer to pieces: New research on bleomycin

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A variety of cancers are treated with the anti-tumor agent bleomycin, though its disease-fighting properties remain poorly understood. In a new study, lead author Basab Roy — a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute — describes bleomycin’s ability to cut through double-stranded DNA in cancerous cells, like a pair of scissors. Such DNA cleavage […]

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* What bank voles can teach us about prion disease transmission and neurodegeneration

When cannibals ate brains of people who died from prion disease, many of them fell ill with the fatal neurodegenerative disease as well. Likewise, when cows were fed protein contaminated with bovine prions, many of them developed mad cow disease. On the other hand, transmission of prions between species, for example from cows, sheep, or […]

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It slices, it dices, and it protects the body from harm

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The discovery of the structure of this enzyme, a first-responder in the body’s “innate immune system,” could enable new strategies for fighting infectious agents and possibly prostate cancer and obesity. The work was published Feb. 27 in the journal Science. Until now, the research community has lacked a structural model of the human form of […]

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The shape of infectious prions

Prions are unique infective agents — unlike viruses, bacteria, fungi and other parasites, prions do not contain either DNA or RNA. Despite their seemingly simple structure, they can propagate their pathological effects like wildfire, by “infecting” normal proteins. PrPSc (the pathological form of the prion protein) can induce normal prion proteins (PrPC) to acquire the […]

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Symphony of life, revealed: New imaging technique captures vibrations of proteins, tiny motions critical to human life

Like the strings on a violin or the pipes of an organ, the proteins in the human body vibrate in different patterns, scientists have long suspected. Now, a new study provides what researchers say is the first conclusive evidence that this is true. Using a technique they developed based on terahertz near-field microscopy, scientists from […]

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Wrong molecular turn leads down path to type 2 diabetes

Computing resources at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have helped researchers better grasp how proteins misfold to create the tissue-damaging structures that lead to type 2 diabetes. The structures, called amyloid fibrils, are also implicated in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and in prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jacob and mad […]

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‘Designer sperm’ inserts custom genes into offspring

Get ready: The “new genetics” promises to change faulty genes of future generations by introducing new, functioning genes using “designer sperm.” A new research report appearing online in The FASEB Journal, shows that introducing new genetic material via a viral vector into the sperm of mice leads to the presence and activity of those genes […]

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Molecule controls blood sugar effectively in humans and also promotes weight loss in rodents

A peptide similar to the one pictured was effective at treating type-2 diabetes in a small clinical trial. Joe Chabenne, Faming Zhang, Richard DiMarchi/Indiana University An experimental diabetes treatment that packs the action of two natural hormones into a single injectable agent has been shown to successfully lower blood sugar in humans, monkeys and rodents. […]

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One in 2000 people may carry infectious prions in the UK

The prion protein that causes variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease destroys neurons in the brain. As a new study in the British Medical Journal reveals that 1 in 2000 people in the UK may harbour the infectious prion protein which causes variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD), Nature explains what this means. The usually fatal condition is the human […]

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Molecule that triggers septic shock identified

The body’s immune system is set up much like a home security system; it has sensors on the outside of cells that act like motion detectors — floodlights — that click on when there’s an intruder rustling in the bushes, bacteria that seem suspect. For over a decade researchers have known about one group of […]

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Birds appear to lack important anti-inflammatory protein

From bird flu to the West Nile virus, bird diseases can have a vast impact on humans. Thus, understanding bird immune systems can help people in a variety of ways, including protecting ourselves from disease and protecting our interests in birds as food animals. An important element in the immune system of many animals’ immune […]

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Hormone receptors may regulate effect of nutrition on life expectancy not only in roundworms, but perhaps also in humans

A reduced caloric intake increases life expectancy in many species. But how diet prolongs the lives of model organisms such as fruit flies and roundworms has remained a mystery until recently. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne discovered that a hormone receptor is one of the links between nutrition […]

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Memory-boosting chemical identified in mice: Cell biologists find molecule targets a key biological pathway

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Memory improved in mice injected with a small, drug-like molecule discovered by UCSF San Francisco researchers studying how cells respond to biological stress. The same biochemical pathway the molecule acts on might one day be targeted in humans to improve memory, according to the senior author of the study, Peter Walter, PhD, UCSF professor of […]

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Hitting ‘reset’ in protein synthesis restores myelination: suggests new treatment for misfolded protein diseases

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A potential new treatment strategy for patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is on the horizon, thanks to research by neuroscientists now at the University at Buffalo’s Hunter James Kelly Research Institute and their colleagues in Italy and England. The institute is the research arm of the Hunter’s Hope Foundation, established in 1997 by Jim Kelly, Buffalo […]

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Hydrogen peroxide vapor enhances hospital disinfection of superbugs

Infection control experts at The Johns Hopkins Hospital have found that a combination of robot-like devices that disperse a bleaching agent into the air and then detoxify the disinfecting chemical are highly effective at killing and preventing the spread of multiple-drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called hospital superbugs. A study report on the use of hydrogen peroxide […]

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