Genetics & Molecular Biology
In 1953, the lightbulb went on for Watson and Crick, who first published the famous double helix 3-D structure of DNA. Structural biology soon became a hot field. Using high intensity X-ray beams, NMR, and other hardware advances, coupled with exponential advances in software algorithims, molecular biologists can now easily solve the 3-D structure of many proteins (but not all, at least yet) with the resolution of single digit angstroms.
RNA is now entering the fray as the final frontier. After all, it is only the key link between DNA and proteins. It is much more diverse and complicated than either one. With all the splicing, refolding, and scaffolding, RNA is the true workhorse of evolution.
Every cell in an organism's body has the same copy of DNA, though different cells do different things so some function as brain cells, while others form muscle tissue. How can the same DNA make different things happen? Science is a step closer to answers and maybe even to putting in a piece of the autism puzzle.
Scientists know that much of what a gene does and produces is regulated after it is turned on. A gene first produces an RNA molecule, to which tiny RNA binding proteins (RBPs) bind and control its fate. For example, some of these proteins cut out parts of the RNA molecule so that it makes a particular protein, while other RBPs help destroy the RNA before it even produces a protein.
Next-generation hydrogels can form synthetic scaffolds to support the formation of replacement tissues and organs in the emerging area of regenerative medicine.
Embedding peptides into the hydrogels stimulates the growth of essential microvascular networks to ensure a good blood supply. A new paper describes the technology in which hydrogels functionalized with laminin-derived peptides were transplanted in a mouse cornea and were shown to support cell growth and blood vessel formation.
Scientists recently discovered surprising evidence that more brown fat (as a result of cold treatment) could increase a person’s risk of getting a stroke or a heart attack. The finding could explain why more people die of cardiovascular diseases during the winter months.
The transcription factor Nanog plays a critical role in the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells and is expressed in a manner similar to other pluripotency markers, according to a new paper This finding contradicts the field's presumptions about this important gene and its role in the differentiation of embryonic stem cells.
‘Jumping genes’ found in most living organisms don’t ultimately kill off their hosts, which is a long-standing scientific mystery.
A new paper reveals how the movement and duplication of transposons is regulated, which prevents a genomic meltdown and instead enables transposons to live in harmony with their hosts - including humans.
Two proteins involved in oral taste detection, TAS1R3 and GNAT3, also play a crucial role in sperm development, according to a new paper.
While breeding mice for taste-related studies, the researchers discovered that they were unable to produce offspring that were simultaneously missing two taste-signaling proteins: TAS1R3, a component of both the sweet and umami (amino acid) taste receptors; and GNAT3, a molecule needed to convert the oral taste receptor signal into a nerve cell response.
The liver receptor homolog-1 (Lrh-1) molecule first shown to function in the liver plays a crucial role in pregnancy in mice and has a key role in the human menstrual cycle, according to researchers at the University of Montreal.
Mice that were genetically engineered not to produce Lrh-1 were unable to create the uterine conditions necessary for establishing and sustaining pregnancy, resulting in the formation of defective placentas. The researchers then showed that Lhr-1 was present in the human uterus and the essential processes related to the success of early gestation.
We posted a new preprint from the lab on arXiv and would love your comments.
Sr35 has been identified as a gene that enables resistance to a new race, or strain, of stem rust, a disease that is producing large wheat yield losses throughout Africa and Asia and threatening global food security.