Tag: Biotechnology and Bioengineering

New imaging technique reveals ‘burst’ of activity before cell death: Novel dual-PWS platform reveals connections between macromolecular structure and dynamic movement in the chromatin within eukaryotic cells

Studying the movement of tiny cells is no small task. For chromatin, the group of DNA, RNA, and protein macromolecules packed within our genome, motion is an integral part of its active role as a regulator of how our genes get expressed or repressed. “Understanding macromolecular motion is critical, but scientists know very little about

New mechanism used by bacteria to evade antibiotics: Surprise survival mechanism could lead to retooled drugs to treat infectious diseases

As bacteria continue to demonstrate powerful resilience to antibiotic treatments — posing a rising public health crisis involving a variety of infections — scientists continue to seek a better understanding of bacterial defenses against antibiotics in an effort to develop new treatments. Now, researchers at the University of California San Diego who combine experiments and

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

Synthetic DNA-delivered antibodies protect against Ebola in preclinical studies

Scientists at The Wistar Institute and collaborators have successfully engineered novel DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies (DMAbs) targeting Zaire Ebolavirus that were effective in preclinical models. Study results, published online in Cell Reports, showed that DMAbs were expressed over a wide window of time and offered complete and long-term protection against lethal virus challenges. DMAbs may also

Taking out the (life-threatening) garbage: Bacteria eject trash to survive: ‘Minicell’ pods, used in drug delivery, discard damaged proteins to prolong life

Scientists have known for decades that certain bacteria produce small spherical versions of themselves. Although they lack basic materials to reproduce or function like normal cells, recent interest in such “minicells” has spiked due to their proficiency as nano-sized delivery tools for drugs and vaccines to targeted cells and tissues. Yet the natural role of

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

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

Neonatal pig hearts can heal from heart attack: This remarkable ability has clinical implications for humans

While pigs still cannot fly, researchers have discovered that the hearts of newborn piglets do have one remarkable ability. They can almost completely heal themselves after experimental heart attacks. This regenerative capacity is short-lived — disappearing by day three after birth, say teams of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at several

Technology to enable precision antibiotics: Chemically enhanced phage display proves capable of recognizing specific strains of bacterial pathogens

Scientists are searching for ways to develop antibiotics that can accurately target infectious bacteria. Increased specificity could help to combat antibiotic resistance and also spare “good” bacteria from being attacked by broad-spectrum antibiotics. Efforts to develop targeted antibiotics have been constrained by the difficulty of quick diagnosis and the development of targeted killing mechanisms. A

Synthetic ’tissues’ build themselves: Biologists program cells to self-organize into 3D-structures in a first step towards tissues that regrow and self-repair

How do complex biological structures — an eye, a hand, a brain — emerge from a single fertilized egg? This is the fundamental question of developmental biology, and a mystery still being grappled with by scientists who hope to one day apply the same principles to heal damaged tissues or regrow ailing organs. Now, in

Levers and zippers in the cell’s ‘customs’

The passage of ions through the cell membrane is controlled by ion channels, which are protein complexes that regulate vital processes, such as the heartbeat, as well as being the target towards which many drugs are directed. Now a study by the University of Wisconsin, led by a Spanish researcher, presents a novel model to

Human MAIT cells sense the metabolic state of enteric bacteria

A little-explored group of immune cells plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal bacteria. Changing metabolic states of the microbes have an effect on defense cells at different stages of alert or rest, as researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the journal Mucosal

Fasting boosts stem cells’ regenerative capacity: A drug treatment that mimics fasting can also provide the same benefit, study finds

As people age, their intestinal stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate. These stem cells are the source for all new intestinal cells, so this decline can make it more difficult to recover from gastrointestinal infections or other conditions that affect the intestine. This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed

CRISPR/Cas9 silences gene associated with high cholesterol: Technique allowed researchers to reduce blood cholesterol levels in adult mice for six months following a single treatment

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have used a CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering technique to turn off a gene that regulates cholesterol levels in adult mice, leading to reduced blood cholesterol levels and gene repression lasting for six months after a single treatment. This marks the first time researchers have delivered CRISPR/Cas9 repressors for targeted therapeutic gene

Gene variant increases empathy-driven fear in mice

Researchers at the Center for Cognition and Sociality, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), have just published in Neuron about a genetic variant that controls and increases empathy-driven fear in mice. As empathy is evolutionarily conserved from rodents to humans, this finding might contribute to clarify individual variability in neuropsychiatric conditions characterized by empathic