Tag: Biology

Physicists find the limits of multitasking in biological networks

Many complex systems in biology can be conceptualized as networks. This perspective helps researchers understand how biological systems work on a fundamental level, and can be used to answer key questions in biology, medicine, and engineering. Blood flow in the brain is a prime example. Blood travels through a network of vessels and can be

Herpes viruses and tumors evolved to learn how to manipulate the same ancient RNA: Findings could have implications for drugs and insight into diseases like Alzheimer’s

Herpes viral infections use the ancient genetic material found in the human genome to proliferate, mimicking the same process tumors have been found to manipulate, Mount Sinai researchers have shown for the first time. These observations provide further insight about how herpes viruses can manipulate the immune system in ways that may drive neurodegenerative diseases

New light on blocking Shiga and ricin toxins — And on an iconic biological process: CRISPR genomic screen reveals newly recognized proteins toxins need to enter cells

Min Dong, PhD, and his lab are world experts in toxins and how to combat them. They’ve figured out how Clostridium difficile‘s most potent toxin gets into cells and zeroed in on the first new botulinum toxin identified since 1969. Now, setting their sights on Shiga and ricin toxins, they’ve not only identified new potential

New insights into the neural risks and benefits of marijuana use: Compounds in cannabis can impair or improve memory depending on age, disease

Research released today underscores both the dangers and the therapeutic promise of marijuana, revealing different effects across the lifespan. Marijuana exposure in the womb or during adolescence may disrupt learning and memory, damage communication between brain regions, and disturb levels of key neurotransmitters and metabolites in the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, however, compounds found in

Potential assay artefacts in anti-malarial screening documented

Malaria remains an economic and health burden to the developing world. As plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, is acquiring rapid resistance against currently used drugs, identification of new classes of anti-malarials remains an urgent need. Potential anti-malarials include small molecules, peptides, antibodies or plant extracts with likely medicinal properties. These agents are often prepared

Cancer hijacks the microbiome to glut itself on glucose

Cancer needs energy to drive its out-of-control growth. It gets energy in the form of glucose, in fact consuming so much glucose that one method for imaging cancer simply looks for areas of extreme glucose consumption — where there is consumption, there is cancer. But how does cancer get this glucose? A University of Colorado

Breakthrough in designing a better Salmonella vaccine

UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection — a critical step in developing a more effective and safe vaccine against a bacterium that annually kills an estimated one million people worldwide. Professor Stephen McSorley, interim

Cancer drug and antidepressants provide clues for treating brain-eating amoeba infections

The amoeba Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in warm swimming pools, lakes and rivers. On rare occasions, the amoeba can infect a healthy person and cause severe primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a “brain-eating” disease that is almost always fatal. Other than trial-and-error with general antifungal medications, there are no treatments for the infection. Researchers at Skaggs

New technique reveals how Zika virus interacts inside our cells: Discovery could enable development of new anti-viral therapies

Scientists have developed a new technique that can determine how viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. As well as providing insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles, this technique, published today in Nature Methods, could allow researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process

Cancer biology graduate student travels ‘ROCKy’ road toward a cure for post-radiation dry mouth

The United States is in the midst of a head-and-neck cancer epidemic. Although survival rates are relatively high—after treatment with chemotherapy and radiation—survivors can suffer permanent loss of salivary function, potentially leading to decades of health problems and difficulties eating. It is unknown why the salivary gland sometimes cannot heal after radiation damage, but Wen

Mapping out cancer’s movements

Cancer researchers struggle to identify tumor cells that are interspersed within nonmalignant tissues because tumor cells exploit the tissue environment and monopolize available resources to continue growing. Researchers attribute cancer cell’s ability to use cell signaling and metabolic pathways that override normal cell growth restrictions to complicated chemical exchanges between tissue and tumor cells. A

Massive effort yields image-based cell sorting technology

Invented over 50 years ago, flow cytometry-based cell sorting has become a widely used tool in biology labs for physically isolating cells based on their global surface marker expression profiles. But on August 27 in the journal Cell, an international, multi-institutional team of researchers unveil the next evolution in this critical process, “Image-Activated Cell Sorting,”

Keeping cancer out of breath blocks drug resistance

A new combination of existing drugs shows promise that it could reduce the size of cancerous tumors much more effectively than current treatments. As cancer patients know all too well, many highly effective anti-cancer drugs don’t stay effective long. Most tumors will become drug resistant over time as their cells rapidly mutate. Chemists from The

How enzyme detects ultraviolet light damage

Damage to DNA is a constant threat to cellular life, and so it is constantly monitored and detected by a family of enzymes called RNA polymerases, resulting in subsequent repair to maintain genome integrity. In a paper published this week in the journal PNAS, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with

A human enzyme can biodegrade graphene

Myeloperoxidase — an enzyme naturally found in our lungs — can biodegrade pristine graphene, according to the latest discovery of Graphene Flagship partners in CNRS, University of Strasbourg (France), Karolinska Institute (Sweden) and University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). Among other projects, the Graphene Flagship designs based like flexible biomedical electronic devices that will interfaced with