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MedWorm: Biochemistry News



MedWorm.com provides a medical RSS filtering service. Thousands of medical RSS feeds are combined and output via different filters. This feed contains the latest news in Biochemistry



Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:35:58 +0100

 



Structures of C1-IgG1 provide insights into how danger pattern recognition activates complement

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Danger patterns on microbes or damaged host cells bind and activate C1, inducing innate immune responses and clearance through the complement cascade. How these patterns trigger complement initiation remains elusive. Here, we present cryo–electron microscopy analyses of C1 bound to monoclonal antibodies in which we observed heterogeneous structures of single and clustered C1–immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) hexamer complexes. Distinct C1q binding sites are observed on the two Fc-CH2 domains of each IgG molecule. These are consistent with known interactions and also reveal additional interactions, which are supported by functional IgG1-mutant analysis. Upon antibody binding, the C1q arms condense, inducing rearrangements of the C1r2s2 proteases and tilting C1q’s cone-shaped stalk....

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Recognizing danger signals

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Scientists fill in a piece of the copper transport puzzle

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Researchers have identified the protein that carries copper into mitochondria, where copper is required for the functioning of the cell's energy conversion machinery. The discovery, published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, fills in a piece of the puzzle of how copper is distributed and used in the cell. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Research Fellow – Full-time (Fixed Term) at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), University of Birmingham

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:00:00 +0100

Location:Department of Physiology, Development and NeuroscienceSalary: £29,799 -£38,832Closing Date: 8 March 2018Post Duration: 36 monthsUniversity of Birmingham are seeking a talented and motivated postdoctoral fellow to join Prof. David Hodson’s research group atthe Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), University of Birmingham. The project, funded for 36 months by a Diabetes UK Research Grant, seeks to understand how stress hormones (termed glucocorticoids) influence beta cell function and insulin release, and how this may interact with obesity To do this, we will combine mouse metabolic phenotyping with cutting-edge imaging and transcriptomic analyses applied directly to rodent and human islets. The overarching aim will be ...



UCLA scientists develop low-cost way to build gene sequences

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(University of California - Los Angeles) A new method pioneered by UCLA researchers enables an average biochemistry laboratory to make its own gene sequences for only about $2 per gene, a process that previously would require its researchers to pay a commercial vendor $50 to $100 per gene. The approach, described in the journal Science, will make it possible for scientists to mass produce thousands of genes screen for their roles in diseases. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Floating food isn’t easy to digest: Scientists think this may be the reason astronauts lose weight

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 23:36:54 +0100

(Natural News) “As odds as it sounds, that’s one of the bigger challenges we have; getting crews to eat enough calories to maintain body weight,” admitted Dr. Scott Smith who leads the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s nutritional biochemistry lab. It is one of the more profoundly interesting problems facing astronauts today, but not... (Source: NaturalNews.com)

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Medical News Today: What is a cell?

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0100

Our bodies contain trillions of cells. In this article, we explain what they are and what happens inside. We also describe some of the many types of cell. (Source: Health News from Medical News Today)



Medical News Today: What are mitochondria?

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0100

Mitochondria are often called the powerhouses of the cell. We explain how they got this title, and outline other important roles that they carry out. (Source: Health News from Medical News Today)



Circulating lipids play roles in many diseases

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Lipids are fatty molecules that play important signaling and storage roles in the body, but having an excess of some lipids, like cholesterol, is a risk factor for many metabolic diseases. Recent articles in the Journal of Lipid Research investigate the role of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood in cardiovascular disease, hepatitis, and rare genetic disorders. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



Undergraduate student uncovers genes associated with aggressive form of brain cancer

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Clemson University) Using publicly available data and novel computer software called KINC, an undergraduate researcher in genetics and biochemistry at Clemson University was able to uncover a group of 22 genes that are implicated together as having involvement in glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer. (Source: EurekAlert! - Cancer)



Scientists crack structure of enzyme complex linked to cancer

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(University of California - Riverside) A research team led by a biochemist at the University of California, Riverside has solved the crystal structure for an enzyme that plays a key role in DNA methylation, the process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. The breakthrough reveals how the enzyme recognizes and methylates its substrates. In humans, errors in methylation have been associated with various diseases, including cancer. DNA methylation also critically influences plant and animal development. (Source: EurekAlert! - Cancer)

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Mind-controlling molecules from wasp venom could someday help Parkinson's patients

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Chemical Society) After being stung by a parasitic wasp, the American cockroach loses control of its behavior, becoming host to the wasp's egg. Days later, the hatchling consumes the cockroach alive. While this is a gruesome process for the cockroach, scientists now report in ACS' journal Biochemistry the discovery of a new family of peptides in the wasp's venom that could be key to controlling roach minds, and might even help researchers develop better Parkinson's disease treatments. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



Scientists can now measure activity of key cancer cell-survival protein

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) A recent study from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, has opened new options to further develop a potential cancer-fighting therapy, clearing an early hurdle in the lengthy drug-discovery process. The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, reveal new ways to measure the activity of a protein that is associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients -- heat shock protein 70, or Hsp70 -- and remove a barrier to developing potential Hsp70-based therapies. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



A new role for the 'pigments of life'

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Trinity College Dublin) Chemically reconfiguring 'porphyrins' has opened new possibilities for their use in diverse applications in chemistry, biochemistry and energy science. (Source: EurekAlert! - Cancer)



A cyanine dye acid test that won't drown in water

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Michigan Technological University) Near-infrared cyanine dyes are go-to tools for studying the inner workings of cells and investigating the biochemistry of disease, including cancer. But even though they have low toxicity and plenty of applications, these fluorescent dyes have a weakness: Put them in water and they quit working. A new dye overcomes this problem. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



Basics: Many Animals Can Count, Some Better Than You

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 16:34:06 +0100

Numerosity is deeply embedded in species that need to track quantity, such as hungry spiders and schooling fish. But the ability seems to have faded in humans. (Source: NYT Health)

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New insight into the molecular weapons of the plant microbiome

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) In a study published in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers at McMaster University in Canada pinpointed the identity of a toxin used by a soil-dwelling bacterium that protects plants from disease. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Trilobites: Unlocking Secrets of Sour Flavors With Something Found in Your Ears

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 16:57:26 +0100

When scientists recently discovered a protein that may help with the detection of sour tastes, they realized it had previously been identified in the inner ear. (Source: NYT Health)



Quantum chemistry solves mystery why there are these 20 amino acids in the genetic code

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz) Using quantum chemical methods, a team of researchers led by Dr. Matthias Granold and Professor Bernd Moosmann of the Institute of Pathobiochemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz solved one of the oldest puzzles of biochemistry. They uncovered why there are 20 amino acids that form the basis of all life today, even though the first 13 amino acids generated over time would have been sufficient to form a comprehensive repertoire of the required functional proteins. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Structure of the human spliceosome

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Remember the sugar when making proteins

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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About-face for citrate synthase

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Structure of a human catalytic step I spliceosome

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Splicing by the spliceosome involves branching and exon ligation. The branching reaction leads to the formation of the catalytic step I spliceosome (C complex). Here we report the cryo–electron microscopy structure of the human C complex at an average resolution of 4.1 angstroms. Compared with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae C complex, the human complex contains 11 additional proteins. The step I splicing factors CCDC49 and CCDC94 (Cwc25 and Yju2 in S. cerevisiae, respectively) closely interact with the DEAH-family adenosine triphosphatase/helicase Prp16 and bridge the gap between Prp16 and the active-site RNA elements. These features, together with structural comparison of the human C and C* complexes, provide mechanistic insights into ribonucleoprotein remodeling and allow the proposi...



Structure of the yeast oligosaccharyltransferase complex gives insight into eukaryotic N-glycosylation

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) is an essential membrane protein complex in the endoplasmic reticulum, where it transfers an oligosaccharide from a dolichol-pyrophosphate–activated donor to glycosylation sites of secretory proteins. Here we describe the atomic structure of yeast OST determined by cryo–electron microscopy, revealing a conserved subunit arrangement. The active site of the catalytic STT3 subunit points away from the center of the complex, allowing unhindered access to substrates. The dolichol-pyrophosphate moiety binds to a lipid-exposed groove of STT3, whereas two noncatalytic subunits and an ordered N-glycan form a membrane-proximal pocket for the oligosaccharide. The acceptor polypeptide site faces an oxidoreductase domain in stand-alone OST complexes or is imm...



A primordial and reversible TCA cycle in a facultatively chemolithoautotrophic thermophile

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Inorganic carbon fixation is essential to sustain life on Earth, and the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle is one of the most ancient carbon fixation metabolisms. A combination of genomic, enzymatic, and metabolomic analyses of a deeply branching chemolithotrophic Thermosulfidibacter takaii ABI70S6T revealed a previously unknown reversible TCA cycle whose direction was controlled by the available carbon source(s). Under a chemolithoautotrophic condition, a rTCA cycle occurred with the reverse reaction of citrate synthase (CS) and not with the adenosine 5'-triphosphate–dependent citrate cleavage reactions that had been regarded as essential for the conventional rTCA cycle. Phylometabolic evaluation suggests that the TCA cycle with reversible CS may represent an ancestral mode ...



Reversibility of citrate synthase allows autotrophic growth of a thermophilic bacterium

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Biological inorganic carbon fixation proceeds through a number of fundamentally different autotrophic pathways that are defined by specific key enzymatic reactions. Detection of the enzymatic genes in (meta)genomes is widely used to estimate the contribution of individual organisms or communities to primary production. Here we show that the sulfur-reducing anaerobic deltaproteobacterium Desulfurella acetivorans is capable of both acetate oxidation and autotrophic carbon fixation, with the tricarboxylic acid cycle operating either in the oxidative or reductive direction, respectively. Under autotrophic conditions, the enzyme citrate synthase cleaves citrate adenosine triphosphate independently into acetyl coenzyme A and oxaloacetate, a reaction that has been regarded as impossible under phy...

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Johns Hopkins-born pharma company raising $40.5 million, hunting for lab space

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 17:37:19 +0100

A Baltimore biotechnology company is raising up to $40.5 million and working to develop pharmaceutical technology born out of Johns Hopkins University. Dracen Pharmaceuticals Inc. is working to develop technologies conceptualized by Barbara Slusher, a professor of neurology, and Dr. Jonathan Powell, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dracen has entered an exclusive agreement with Hopkins and the Institute of Organic Chem istry and Biochemistry in Prague to license the jointly-owned… (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Physician Practices headlines)



The sugar-attaching enzyme that defines colon cancer

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Researchers have identified an enzyme that is absent in healthy colon tissue but abundant in colon cancer cells, according to a report in the Jan. 26 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The enzyme appears to drive the conversion of normal colon tissue into cancer by attaching sugar molecules, or glycans, to certain proteins in the cell. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



UK ’ s leading surgeons mark official launch of £ 21m NIHR Biomedical Research Centre

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 11:46:00 +0100

Almost a third of hospital admissions involve a surgical procedure and with 4.7 million operations carried out in the UK each year and numbers rising year on year, surgery is one of the most important life-saving treatments offered to patients. Innovative surgical procedures are continually being developed but how are they tested to ensure they are safe? Two of the UK ’ s leading academic surgeons will answer these questions at a public lecture and debate on Thursday 1 February 2018 to mark the official launch of the £ 21 million National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). (Source: University of Bristol news)



The ER membrane protein complex is a transmembrane domain insertase

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Insertion of proteins into membranes is an essential cellular process. The extensive biophysical and topological diversity of membrane proteins necessitates multiple insertion pathways that remain incompletely defined. Here we found that known membrane insertion pathways fail to effectively engage tail-anchored membrane proteins with moderately hydrophobic transmembrane domains. These proteins are instead shielded in the cytosol by calmodulin. Dynamic release from calmodulin allowed sampling of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the conserved ER membrane protein complex (EMC) was shown to be essential for efficient insertion in vitro and in cells. Purified EMC in synthetic liposomes catalyzed the insertion of its substrates in a reconstituted system. Thus, EMC is a transmembrane domain ...



A new way into the ER

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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OSC helping OU researcher revolutionize drug discovery with RNA in the spotlight

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Ohio Supercomputer Center) The rise of antibiotic resistance among common infectious bacteria is a worrisome health threat. Jennifer Hines, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio University, is looking to ribonucleic acid (RNA) structures for new drug discovery. Since Hines has to test the docking of entire libraries of small molecules on the riboswitch, she uses the power of the Ohio Supercomputer Center's Oakley Cluster to speed up the calculation process. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



Cells of 3 advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0100

Researchers at Southern Methodist University have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers - ovarian, prostate and breast. The molecules were first discovered computationally via high-performance supercomputing. Now their effectiveness against specific cancers has been confirmed via wet-lab experiments, said biochemistry professors Pia Vogel and John G. Wise, who led the study. (Source: World Pharma News)



Medical News Today: All about the spleen

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0100

In this article, we discuss the spleen. We will explain what the spleen does, the types of cells involved, and what happens when it goes wrong. (Source: Health News from Medical News Today)



Opening the cavity floodgates

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(University of Freiburg) Freiburg biochemists investigate the transport of large proteins through bacterial cell membranes. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Study: Cells of 3 advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Southern Methodist University) Researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, report in the Nature journal Scientific Reports that they have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers -- ovarian, prostate and breast. The molecules were first discovered computationally via SMU's ManeFrame high-performance supercomputer. Now their effectiveness against specific cancers has been confirmed via wet-lab experiments, said biochemistry professors Pia Vogel and John G. Wise, who led the study. (Source: EurekAlert! - Cancer)

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Quarks, culture, combogenesis

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Remote control of nanoscale devices

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Recognizing centromere by kinetochore

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Electrically driving a DNA arm

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Substrate recognition by Dicer elucidated

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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Watching single molecules in motion

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



A self-assembled nanoscale robotic arm controlled by electric fields

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

The use of dynamic, self-assembled DNA nanostructures in the context of nanorobotics requires fast and reliable actuation mechanisms. We therefore created a 55-nanometer–by–55-nanometer DNA-based molecular platform with an integrated robotic arm of length 25 nanometers, which can be extended to more than 400 nanometers and actuated with externally applied electrical fields. Precise, computer-controlled switching of the arm between arbitrary positions on the platform can be achieved within milliseconds, as demonstrated with single-pair Förster resonance energy transfer experiments and fluorescence microscopy. The arm can be used for electrically driven transport of molecules or nanoparticles over tens of nanometers, which is useful for the control of photonic and plasmon...



Structural mechanisms of centromeric nucleosome recognition by the kinetochore protein CENP-N

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

We report cryo–electron microscopy (cryo-EM), biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological studies of the interaction between the CENP-A nucleosome and CENP-N. We show that human CENP-N confers binding specificity through interactions with the L1 loop of CENP-A, stabilized by electrostatic interactions with the nucleosomal DNA. Mutational analyses demonstrate analogous interactions in Xenopus, which are further supported by residue-swapping experiments involving the L1 loop of CENP-A. Our results are consistent with the coevolution of CENP-N and CENP-A and establish the structural basis for recognition of the CENP-A nucleosome to enable kinetochore assembly and centromeric chromatin organization. (Source: ScienceNOW)



Dicer uses distinct modules for recognizing dsRNA termini

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Invertebrates rely on Dicer to cleave viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and Drosophila Dicer-2 distinguishes dsRNA substrates by their termini. Blunt termini promote processive cleavage, while 3' overhanging termini are cleaved distributively. To understand this discrimination, we used cryo–electron microscopy to solve structures of Drosophila Dicer-2 alone and in complex with blunt dsRNA. Whereas the Platform-PAZ domains have been considered the only Dicer domains that bind dsRNA termini, unexpectedly, we found that the helicase domain is required for binding blunt, but not 3' overhanging, termini. We further showed that blunt dsRNA is locally unwound and threaded through the helicase domain in an adenosine triphosphate–dependent manner. Our studies reveal a previously unreco...



Toward dynamic structural biology: Two decades of single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Classical structural biology can only provide static snapshots of biomacromolecules. Single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) paved the way for studying dynamics in macromolecular structures under biologically relevant conditions. Since its first implementation in 1996, smFRET experiments have confirmed previously hypothesized mechanisms and provided new insights into many fundamental biological processes, such as DNA maintenance and repair, transcription, translation, and membrane transport. We review 22 years of contributions of smFRET to our understanding of basic mechanisms in biochemistry, molecular biology, and structural biology. Additionally, building on current state-of-the-art implementations of smFRET, we highlight possible future directions for smFRET ...

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Medical News Today: How immune cells can be controlled to kill cancer

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:00:00 +0100

Researchers have engineered immune system T cells that are primed to find and kill cancer cells and can be remotely activated with noninvasive ultrasound. (Source: Health News from Medical News Today)



Nature has more than one way to make methane, say Utah State University biochemists

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Utah State University) Utah State University biochemists, with collaborators from the University of Washington and Montana State University, report a bacterial, iron-only nitrogenase pathway for methane formation. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Medical News Today: We know all about taste & mdash; or do we? Study finds new mechanism

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0100

When we perceive three of our basic tastes — sweet, savory, and bitter — we might have more than one 'taste channel' to fall upon, a new study suggests. (Source: Health News from Medical News Today)



How climate change alters plant growth

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Martin-Luther-Universit ä t Halle-Wittenberg) Global warming affects more than just plant biodiversity -- it even alters the way plants grow. A team of researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) joined forces with the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) to discover which molecular processes are involved in plant growth. In the current edition of the internationally renowned journal " Current Biology " , the group presents its latest findings on the mechanism controlling growth at high temperatures. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



A Greener, More Healthful Place to Work

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:00:01 +0100

Biophilic buildings aim not just to leave a minimal carbon footprint but also to promote the health of those who live and work there. (Source: NYT Health)

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Fatty acyl recognition and transfer by an integral membrane S-acyltransferase

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

We present crystal structures of two DHHC palmitoyltransferases and a covalent intermediate mimic. The active site resides at the membrane-cytosol interface, which allows the enzyme to catalyze thioester-exchange chemistry by using fatty acyl–coenzyme A and explains why membrane-proximal cysteines are candidates for palmitoylation. The acyl chain binds in a cavity formed by the transmembrane domain. We propose a mechanism for acyl chain–length selectivity in DHHC enzymes on the basis of cavity mutants with preferences for shorter and longer acyl chains. (Source: ScienceNOW)



Structure of the cold- and menthol-sensing ion channel TRPM8

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Transient receptor potential melastatin (TRPM) cation channels are polymodal sensors that are involved in a variety of physiological processes. Within the TRPM family, member 8 (TRPM8) is the primary cold and menthol sensor in humans. We determined the cryo–electron microscopy structure of the full-length TRPM8 from the collared flycatcher at an overall resolution of ~4.1 ångstroms. Our TRPM8 structure reveals a three-layered architecture. The amino-terminal domain with a fold distinct among known TRP structures, together with the carboxyl-terminal region, forms a large two-layered cytosolic ring that extensively interacts with the transmembrane channel layer. The structure suggests that the menthol-binding site is located within the voltage-sensor–like domain and thus pr...



Structure of the human TRPM4 ion channel in a lipid nanodisc

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Transient receptor potential (TRP) melastatin 4 (TRPM4) is a widely expressed cation channel associated with a variety of cardiovascular disorders. TRPM4 is activated by increased intracellular calcium in a voltage-dependent manner but, unlike many other TRP channels, is permeable to monovalent cations only. Here we present two structures of full-length human TRPM4 embedded in lipid nanodiscs at ~3-angstrom resolution, as determined by single-particle cryo–electron microscopy. These structures, with and without calcium bound, reveal a general architecture for this major subfamily of TRP channels and a well-defined calcium-binding site within the intracellular side of the S1-S4 domain. The structures correspond to two distinct closed states. Calcium binding induces conformational chan...



Fattening up proteins

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Architecture of the TRPM subfamily

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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TRPM channels come into focus

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Bristol to lead revolutionary research into 'self-healing' materials

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 21:35:34 +0100

A consortium of seven institutions led by the University of Bristol, has received a grant of £ 2.7m to undertake ground-breaking research into manufacturing new materials which have the ability to self-heal or regenerate. (Source: University of Bristol news)



The Man In The Google Doodle: From Poor Villager To Nobel Prize Winner

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 21:05:47 +0100

He's the biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, who discovered the grammar that organizes DNA. But first he had to overcome the accent and mannerisms of his Indian village.(Image credit: Google) (Source: NPR Health and Science)



Google Celebrates Nobel-Prize Winning Biochemist Har Gobind Khorana

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:39:25 +0100

Indian-American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, known for his construction of the first synthetic gene and renowned research in nucleic acids and proteins, is being honored with a Google Doodle Tuesday, on what would have been Khorana’s 96th birthday. Khorana’s work uncovered how a DNA’s genetic code determines protein synthesis — which dictates how a cell functions. That discovery earned khorana, along with two colleagues, the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.” Several years later, Khorana created the first synthetic gene — a step that led to commercialized gene synthesis at businesses around the world. Created by Bangalore-based illustrator Rohan Dahotre,...



Who Is Har Gobind Khorana? Why Google Is Celebrating the Nobel Prize-Winner

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:39:25 +0100

Known for his construction of the first synthetic gene and renowned research in nucleic acids and proteins, Indian American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana is being honored with a Google Doodle Tuesday. Khorana’s work uncovered how a DNA’s genetic code determines protein synthesis — which dictates how a cell functions. That discovery earned him, along with two colleagues, the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.” Several years later, Khorana created the first synthetic gene — a step that led to commercialized gene synthesis at businesses around the world. Tuesday would have been Khorana’s 96th birthday. He died in 2011. Created by Bangalore-based illustrator Ro...

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Google Doodle Celebrates Noble Prize-Winning Biochemist Har Gobind Khorana ’s Birthday

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:39:25 +0100

Known for his construction of the first synthetic gene and renowned research in nucleic acids and proteins, Indian American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana was honored with a Google Doodle Tuesday. Khorana’s work uncovered how a DNA’s genetic code determines protein synthesis — which dictates how a cell functions. That discovery earned him, along with two colleagues, the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.” Several years later, Khorana created the first synthetic gene — a step that led to commercialized gene synthesis at businesses around the world. Tuesday would have been Khorana’s 96th birthday. He died in 2011. Created by Bangalore-based illustrator Rohan D...



Tuesday's Google Doodle Honors Biochemist Har Gobind Khorana

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:48:00 +0100

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the 96th birthday of biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, who constructed the first synthetic gene. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News)



Dracen Licenses Immunometabolism Platform

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Platform was created by key scientists at The Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry(PRWeb January 09, 2018)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15066142.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals)



First discover the disorder and then find the patients

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(Bielefeld University) Biochemists of Bielefeld University have confirmed the cause of initially unclear symptoms of patients in Israel. Their studies reveal that the patients suffer from a disorder called 'MPS III-E.' It was discovered by the Bielefeld researchers in 2012. However, until now there were no known patients. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)

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Chemical martyrs

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



How to defeat a nerve agent

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



An unusual form of antibiotic resistance in pandemic cholera

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Researchers at the University of Georgia have now shown that the enzyme that makes the El Tor family of V. cholerae resistant to those antibiotics has a different mechanism of action from any comparable proteins observed in bacteria so far. Understanding that mechanism better equips researchers to overcome the challenge it presents in a world with increasing antibiotic resistance. The results of this research are published in the Dec. 22 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Imaging technique could be ‘new ballgame’ in drug development

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0100

Biochemistry and structural biology are surprisingly — at least to the uninitiated — visual fields. This is especially true in the study of proteins. Scientists like to see the structure of proteins within cells to help them truly understand how they work, how they don’t work or how they can be modified to work as they should. That is, how the y can be targeted with drugs to cure disease.Current methods, however, have their downsides. Many widely used techniques require large amounts of protein for analysis, even though many diseases are caused by proteins that are far from abundant or that are difficult to amass in large quantities. A new method pioneered by a professor who recently joined UCLA overcomes this challenge, offering untold potential in the exploration of disease and t...



Matter: Fiber Is Good for You. Now Scientists May Know Why.

Mon, 01 Jan 2018 16:55:01 +0100

A series of unusual experiments in mice finds that dietary fiber fine-tunes the immune system and may help prevent chronic inflammation. (Source: NYT Health)

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A phospholipid pathway from plants to parasites

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Recent findings by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis may aid in the development of therapies to treat parasitic infections, including malaria, and may help plant scientists one day produce hardier crops. The research team's work will be published in the Dec. 29 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Scientists Are Designing Artisanal Proteins for Your Body

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 07:00:34 +0100

The human body makes tens of thousands of cellular proteins, each for a particular task. Now researchers have learned to create custom versions not found in nature. (Source: NYT Health)



‘I want to help humans genetically modify themselves’

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 14:28:03 +0100

Former Nasa biochemist Josiah Zayner became an online sensation by conducting DIY gene therapy on himself. He explains why he did itJosiah Zayner, 36,recently made headlines by becoming the first person to use the revolutionary gene-editing toolCrispr to try to change their own genes. Part way through a talk on genetic engineering, Zayner pulled out a syringe apparently containing DNA and other chemicals designed to trigger a genetic change in his cells associated with dramatically increased muscle mass. He injected the DIY gene therapy into his left arm,live-streaming the procedure on the internet.The former Nasa biochemist, based in California, has become a leading figure in the growing “biohacker” movement, which involves loose collectives of scientists, engineers, artists, designer...



Synthetic transcription elongation factors license transcription across repressive chromatin

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The release of paused RNA polymerase II into productive elongation is highly regulated, especially at genes that affect human development and disease. To exert control over this rate-limiting step, we designed sequence-specific synthetic transcription elongation factors (Syn-TEFs). These molecules are composed of programmable DNA-binding ligands flexibly tethered to a small molecule that engages the transcription elongation machinery. By limiting activity to targeted loci, Syn-TEFs convert constituent modules from broad-spectrum inhibitors of transcription into gene-specific stimulators. Here we present Syn-TEF1, a molecule that actively enables transcription across repressive GAA repeats that silence frataxin expression in Friedreich’s ataxia, a terminal neurodegenerative disease wi...



Chemical control of transcription

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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Shedding light on a shadowy organizational hub in cells

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Researchers have shed light on the role that a large, enigmatic protein plays in assembling microtubules, paving the way for better cancer treatments. The results of the research are published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Comprehensive computational design of ordered peptide macrocycles

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Mixed-chirality peptide macrocycles such as cyclosporine are among the most potent therapeutics identified to date, but there is currently no way to systematically search the structural space spanned by such compounds. Natural proteins do not provide a useful guide: Peptide macrocycles lack regular secondary structures and hydrophobic cores, and can contain local structures not accessible with l-amino acids. Here, we enumerate the stable structures that can be adopted by macrocyclic peptides composed of l- and d-amino acids by near-exhaustive backbone sampling followed by sequence design and energy landscape calculations. We identify more than 200 designs predicted to fold into single stable structures, many times more than the number of currently available unbound peptide macrocycle struc...



Vasohibins/SVBP are tubulin carboxypeptidases (TCPs) that regulate neuron differentiation

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Reversible detyrosination of α-tubulin is crucial to microtubule dynamics and functions, and defects have been implicated in cancer, brain disorganization, and cardiomyopathies. The identity of the tubulin tyrosine carboxypeptidase (TCP) responsible for detyrosination has remained unclear. We used chemical proteomics with a potent irreversible inhibitor to show that the major brain TCP is a complex of vasohibin-1 (VASH1) with the small vasohibin binding protein (SVBP). VASH1 and its homolog VASH2, when complexed with SVBP, exhibited robust and specific Tyr/Phe carboxypeptidase activity on microtubules. Knockdown of vasohibins or SVBP and/or inhibitor addition in cultured neurons reduced detyrosinated α-tubulin levels and caused severe differentiation defects. Furthermore, knock...



Structural basis of membrane disruption and cellular toxicity by {alpha}-synuclein oligomers

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Oligomeric species populated during the aggregation process of α-synuclein have been linked to neuronal impairment in Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. By using solution and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance techniques in conjunction with other structural methods, we identified the fundamental characteristics that enable toxic α-synuclein oligomers to perturb biological membranes and disrupt cellular function; these include a highly lipophilic element that promotes strong membrane interactions and a structured region that inserts into lipid bilayers and disrupts their integrity. In support of these conclusions, mutations that target the region that promotes strong membrane interactions by α-synuclein oligomers suppressed their toxicit...



Eudicot plant-specific sphingolipids determine host selectivity of microbial NLP cytolysins

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1–like (NLP) proteins constitute a superfamily of proteins produced by plant pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes. Many NLPs are cytotoxins that facilitate microbial infection of eudicot, but not of monocot plants. Here, we report glycosylinositol phosphorylceramide (GIPC) sphingolipids as NLP toxin receptors. Plant mutants with altered GIPC composition were more resistant to NLP toxins. Binding studies and x-ray crystallography showed that NLPs form complexes with terminal monomeric hexose moieties of GIPCs that result in conformational changes within the toxin. Insensitivity to NLP cytolysins of monocot plants may be explained by the length of the GIPC head group and the architecture of the NLP sugar-binding site. We unveil early steps in...

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Macrocycles by design

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



An extra sugar protects

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



A structural look at {alpha}-synuclein oligomers

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



How plants differ in toxin-sensitivity

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Closing the tubulin detyrosination cycle

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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Protein structure could unlock new treatments for cystic fibrosis

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0100

(University of Zurich) Biochemists at the University of Zurich have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the detailed architecture of the chloride channel TMEM16A. This protein is a promising target for the development of effective drugs to treat cystic fibrosis. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)



Bacteria breakthrough marks new era in cellular design and biofuel production

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:18:00 +0100

Scientists at the universities of Kent and Bristol have built a miniature scaffold inside bacteria that can bolster cellular productivity, providing the foundation for a new era of cellular protein engineering and biofuel production. (Source: University of Bristol news)



A spring-loaded sensor for cholesterol in cells

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0100

(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) New research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on Dec. 8, explains how an enzyme acts as a kind of thermostat that responds to and adjusts levels of cholesterol in the cell. This insight could lead to new strategies for combating high cholesterol. (Source: EurekAlert! - Biology)



Structural basis for methylphosphonate biosynthesis

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Methylphosphonate synthase (MPnS) produces methylphosphonate, a metabolic precursor to methane in the upper ocean. Here, we determine a 2.35-angstrom resolution structure of MPnS and discover that it has an unusual 2-histidine-1-glutamine iron-coordinating triad. We further solve the structure of a related enzyme, hydroxyethylphosphonate dioxygenase from Streptomyces albus (SaHEPD), and find that it displays the same motif. SaHEPD can be converted into an MPnS by mutation of glutamine-adjacent residues, identifying the molecular requirements for methylphosphonate synthesis. Using these sequence markers, we find numerous putative MPnSs in marine microbiomes and confirm that MPnS is present in the abundant Pelagibacter ubique. The ubiquity of MPnS-containing microbes supports the proposal th...



Postcatalytic spliceosome structure reveals mechanism of 3'-splice site selection

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Introns are removed from eukaryotic messenger RNA precursors by the spliceosome in two transesterification reactions—branching and exon ligation. The mechanism of 3'–splice site recognition during exon ligation has remained unclear. Here we present the 3.7-angstrom cryo–electron microscopy structure of the yeast P-complex spliceosome immediately after exon ligation. The 3'–splice site AG dinucleotide is recognized through non–Watson-Crick pairing with the 5' splice site and the branch-point adenosine. After the branching reaction, protein factors work together to remodel the spliceosome and stabilize a conformation competent for 3'–splice site docking, thereby promoting exon ligation. The structure accounts for the strict conservation of the GU and AG di...

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Structure of the yeast spliceosomal postcatalytic P complex

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The spliceosome undergoes dramatic changes in a splicing cycle. Structures of B, Bact, C, C*, and intron lariat spliceosome complexes revealed mechanisms of 5'–splice site (ss) recognition, branching, and intron release, but lacked information on 3'-ss recognition, exon ligation, and exon release. Here we report a cryo–electron microscopy structure of the postcatalytic P complex at 3.3-angstrom resolution, revealing that the 3' ss is mainly recognized through non–Watson-Crick base pairing with the 5' ss and branch point. Furthermore, one or more unidentified proteins become stably associated with the P complex, securing the 3' exon and potentially regulating activity of the helicase Prp22. Prp22 binds nucleotides 15 to 21 in the 3' exon, enabling it to pull the intron-exo...



Plant RuBisCo assembly in E. coli with five chloroplast chaperones including BSD2

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Plant RuBisCo, a complex of eight large and eight small subunits, catalyzes the fixation of CO2 in photosynthesis. The low catalytic efficiency of RuBisCo provides strong motivation to reengineer the enzyme with the goal of increasing crop yields. However, genetic manipulation has been hampered by the failure to express plant RuBisCo in a bacterial host. We achieved the functional expression of Arabidopsis thaliana RuBisCo in Escherichia coli by coexpressing multiple chloroplast chaperones. These include the chaperonins Cpn60/Cpn20, RuBisCo accumulation factors 1 and 2, RbcX, and bundle-sheath defective-2 (BSD2). Our structural and functional analysis revealed the role of BSD2 in stabilizing an end-state assembly intermediate of eight RuBisCo large subunits until the small subunits become ...



A source of methane in the upper ocean

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



A biotech tour de force

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Understanding splicing from the 3' end

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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Biology and physics rendezvous at the membrane

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



Putting the RuBisCO pieces together

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)



The Dream Chemistry Award goes to Dr. Jessica R. Kramer from the University of Utah

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 05:00:00 +0100

(Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague)) The laureate of the Dream Chemistry Award 2017 became Dr. Jessica R. Kramer from the University of Utah, USA, nominated by Prof. Hamid Ghandehari, with a project 'Glycocalyx engineering to probe the role of mucins in cancer'. (Source: EurekAlert! - Cancer)



3.9 A structure of the yeast Mec1-Ddc2 complex, a homolog of human ATR-ATRIP

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The ataxia telangiectasia–mutated and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase is a master regulator of DNA damage response and replication stress in humans, but the mechanism of its activation remains unclear. ATR acts together with its partner ATRIP. Using cryo–electron microscopy, we determined the structure of intact Mec1-Ddc2 (the yeast homolog of ATR-ATRIP), which is poised for catalysis, at a resolution of 3.9 angstroms. Mec1-Ddc2 forms a dimer of heterodimers through the PRD and FAT domains of Mec1 and the coiled-coil domain of Ddc2. The PRD and Bridge domains in Mec1 constitute critical regulatory sites. The activation loop of Mec1 is inhibited by the PRD, revealing an allosteric mechanism of kinase activation. Our study clarifies the architecture of ATR-ATRIP and provides a structur...



Holding a master regulator in check

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100

(Source: ScienceNOW)

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