Tag: Biotechnology

Molecular mechanisms of ancient herbal remedies: Components of leaf extract prove highly effective at preventing life-threatening seizures

Researchers in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine have discovered the molecular basis for a therapeutic action of an ancient herbal medicine used across Africa to treat various illnesses, including epilepsy. The herbal medicine, a leaf extract from the shrub Mallotus oppositifolius, was previously found to

Novel mechanism for generating our skeleton

There are more than 200 bones in the human body. Bone is formed during embryonic and postnatal skeletogenesis by two distinct, well-organized processes, intramembranous and endochondral ossification. Mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into chondrocytes to form a cartilaginous template, which, for long bones, induces bone formation through endochondral ossification. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (Erk5), which is

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

Viruses under the microscope

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects almost all of the human population, but only very few will show any symptoms during their lifetime: HHV-6 is one of the most widespread viruses among the population. Between 95 and 100 percent of healthy adults have antibodies to the virus which means that they have been infected at some

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

Chromatin structure: Slip-sliding away…

In the cell nucleus, the genomic DNA is packaged into a tightly condensed form, which is referred to as chromatin. The basic unit of chromatin organization is the nucleosome, a DNA-protein complex consisting of a defined length of DNA wrapped around a bead-like structure which is made of histone proteins. The individual nucleosomes are connected

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

Turmeric-derived eye drops could treat glaucoma: study

A derivative of turmeric could be used in eye drops to treat the early stages of glaucoma, finds a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers. In the new Scientific Reports paper, the researchers report a new method to deliver curcumin, extracted from the yellow spice turmeric, directly to the back of

Researchers discover a way to peer inside proteins to see how they are wired: The technique could help scientists develop methods for switching on or off specific proteins associated with diabetes and other diseases

The proteins in our bodies are sophisticated structures that perform specific jobs to keep us functioning and healthy. In many cases, these tiny machines are switched on or off through a two-step process where one part of the protein sends messages to another part called the “active site,” triggering the protein to start or stop

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

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

Study challenges ‘shock and kill’ approach to eliminating HIV

Researchers have provided new insight into the cellular processes behind the ‘shock and kill’ approach to curing HIV, which they say challenges the effectiveness of the treatment. Their study, published in the journal eLife, suggests the need to explore alternative treatment strategies against HIV — a virus which 36.7 million people globally were living with

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