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Identifying the right target

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:19:30 +0100

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. Cystic fibrosis is a severe hereditary disease of th...

Optimizing costs for companies with on-site power generation

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:08 +0100

High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and 5 Business Angels are investing together just under 1 million euros in GmbH. The company develops software to optimize energy costs for companies with on-site power generation. The funding will be used to further develop the software and to finance the m...

How do bacteria adapt?

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:07 +0100

A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have now determined that the regulation mechanisms used by bacteria ...

Drug blocks Zika and dengue viruses in study

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:07:33 +0100

A small-molecule inhibitor tested by researchers at Yale and Stanford may be the answer to blocking the spread of harmful mosquito-borne pathogens, including Zika and dengue viruses, according to a new study. The molecule, dubbed NGI-1, was identified by co-author Joseph Contessa, M.D., an associate...

Record Revenue at ZEISS

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:37:03 +0100

In the past 2016/17 fiscal year (ended 30 September 2017), ZEISS increased both its revenue and earnings to a record level: revenue rose by 10 percent to EUR 5.348 billion (prior year: EUR 4.881 billion). At EUR 770 million, earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were significantly above the alread...

Autophagy triggers autoimmune disease

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:19 +0100

Autophagy allows cells to degrade and recycle their cellular components. Researchers at UZH have now demonstrated that the autophagy machinery in certain immune cells leads to the immune system attacking the central nervous system. The researchers are using these findings as a basis to look into new...

Quality assurance in cells power plants

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:17 +0100

Mitochondria generate most of the energy cells need through a respiratory chain for which they must produce their own proteins. The research group of Associate Professor Henna Tyynismaa, University of Helsinki, Finland, has discovered a "quality control" mechanism in the mitochondria, which is neces...

Drug suppresses spread of breast cancer

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:06 +0100

Rare stem-like tumor cells play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer, but a vulnerability in the pathway that powers them offers a strategy to target these cells using existing drugs before metastatic disease occurs, report University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores C...

How a protein promotes cancer progression

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:05 +0100

Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery (SBP) and the Technion in Israel have found a new role for the SHARPIN protein. In addition to being one of three proteins in the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC), regulating NFκB and other inflammatory molecules, SHARPIN modulat...

Blueprints for anti-cancer drugs discovered in bacterial genomes

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:04 +0100

Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) who had previously discovered the prostate cancer-killing compound LNM E1 have now brought the family of LNM molecules even closer to clinical testing by "mining" the information stored in bacteria genomes. Their research sugg...

Searching for the CRISPR Swiss-army knife

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:10:25 +0100

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen, led by the Spanish Professor Guillermo Montoya, are investigating the molecular features of different molecular scissors of the CRISPR-Cas system to shed light on the so-called 'Swiss-army knives' of genome editing. Montoya's research group has visualized ...

Crowding in the skin

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 +0100

Human skin is a remarkable organ serving as a barrier protecting us from pathogens, toxic substances and others. Our skin needs to constantly renew throughout our lifetime as well as change its size to perfectly fit and cover the body. To fulfill such a complex and dynamic behavior every cell within...

Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:09 +0100

Lipid, also known as fat, is an optimal energy source and an important cell component. Much is required for the rapid and uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and from the University of Geneva have now discovered that the protein mTOR stimul...

Do not try CRISPR at home

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:05 +0100

Gene therapy is the administration of genetic material to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene product or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use. Gene therapies offer the potential to treat diseases or conditions for which no or few treatments exist. They are...

Production of protein pharmaceuticals with yeast

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:04 +0100

It took several years, but a research team headed by Professor Jens Nielsen at Chalmers University of Technology has finally succeeded in mapping out the complex metabolism of yeast cells. The breakthrough, recently published in an article in Nature Communications, means a huge step forward in the p...

Live-cell microscopy reveals cell migration by direct forces

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:03 +0100

How do cells move in a certain direction in the body -- go to a wound site and repair it, for example, or hunt down infectious bacteria and kill it? Two new studies from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) show how cells respond to internal forces when they orient, gain traction, and migrate in a...

Acrobatic Duo in the Cells

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:29:07 +0100

Just like an acrobatic duo, some proteins lend each other stability. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered that the protein “Trigger factor” recognizes a partner by instable, flexible domains, to then together form a stable protein duo. Misfolded proteins are non-f...

The world's smallest Mona Lisa

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:13 +0100

In 2006, Caltech's Paul Rothemund (BS '94)—now research professor of bioengineering, computing and mathematical sciences, and computation and neural systems—developed a method to fold a long strand of DNA into a prescribed shape. The technique, dubbed DNA origami, enabled scientists to create self-a...

Many more bacteria have electrically conducting filaments

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:10 +0100

Microbiologists led by Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is internationally known for having discovered electrically conducting microfilaments or "nanowires" in the bacterium Geobacter, announce in a new paper this month that they have discovered the unexpected structures ...

Revolutionizing electronics using Kirigami

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:04 +0100

A research team in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering and the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi University of Technology has developed an ultrastretchable bioprobe using Kirigami designs. The Kirigami-based bioprobe enabl...

Channeling graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:03 +0100

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells. To...

Discngine raises €1.1 million in Series A funding round

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:02 +0100

Discngine, a software company specializing in applications for life sciences research, today announces a Series A financing round of €1.1 million ($1.3M), received from Extens Développement e-Santé. The funds raised will allow Discngine to move forward with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution ...

DNA origami surpasses important thresholds

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 09:44:21 +0100

It is the double strands of our genes that make them so strong. Using a technique known as DNA origami, biophysicist Hendrik Dietz has been building nanometer-scale objects for several years at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Now Dietz and his team have not only broken out of the nanometer...

The future of crop engineering

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:07 +0100

Photosynthesis is the process underlying all plant growth. Scientists aim to boost photosynthesis to meet the increasing global demand for food by engineering its key enzyme Rubisco. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have succeeded in producing functional plant Rubisco in ...

Genetic model identifies primary myelofibrosis outcomes

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:05 +0100

A group of investigators from Mayo Clinic and multiple academic research centers in Italy have identified a genetic model for predicting outcomes in patients with primary myelofibrosis who are 70 years or younger and candidates for stem cell transplant to treat their disease. The group's findings we...

Imperial and Tsinghua University launch seed fund for 'ambitious collaborations'

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:04 +0100

The Tsinghua-Imperial Research and Innovation Fund, which brings together two of the world’s leading research universities, aims to kick-start innovative research projects and concepts that are showing signs of promise but are at an early stage in development and need funding to progress. The awards...

Gene therapy improves immunity in babies with 'bubble boy' disease

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:02 +0100

Early evidence suggests that gene therapy developed at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will lead to broad protection for infants with the devastating immune disorder X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency disorder. Preliminary results from the ongoing, multicenter study were included in the...

Protein-folding simulations sped up

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:15:38 +0100

Proteins, the ubiquitous workhorses of biochemistry, are huge molecules whose function depends on how they fold into intricate structures. To understand how these molecules work, researchers use computer modeling to calculate how proteins fold. Now, a new algorithm can accelerate those vital simulat...

Biotage acquires Horizon Technology

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:00:18 +0100

Biotage AB has entered into an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares in the privately held company Horizon Technology, Inc. (Horizon) based in New Hampshire, US, at a purchase price of approx. USD 18.4 million, corresponding to approx. SEK 153 million[1], based on an enterprise value of approx...

First DNA sequence from a single mitochondria

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:00:17 +0100

DNA sequences between mitochondria within a single cell are vastly different, found researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. This knowledge will help to better illuminate the underlying mechanisms of many disorders that start with accumulated mutations in ind...

Zika vaccine induces strong immune response in three phase 1 studies

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:00:05 +0100

Three Phase 1 human clinical trials evaluating an Army-developed Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine have shown it was safe and well-tolerated in healthy adults and induced a robust immune response. Each of the three studies included in the paper was designed to address a unique question ...

Copper to replace palladium and platinum in the synthesis of medications

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:00:01 +0100

Chemists of Ural Federal University with colleagues from India proved the effectiveness of copper nanoparticles as a catalyst on the example of analysis of 48 organic synthesis reactions. One of the advantages of the catalyst is its insolubility in traditional organic solvents. This makes copper nan...

New TB drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:34:30 +0100

Tuberculosis, and other life-threatening microbial diseases, could be more effectively tackled with future drugs, thanks to new research into an old antibiotic by the University of Warwick and The Francis Crick Institute. Led by Professor David Roper at Warwick's School of Life Sciences and Dr Luiz ...

Promising biobased alternatives to polar aprotic solvents

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 06:00:13 +0100

A report from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research commissioned by RIVM (the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) has revealed a number of promising biobased alternatives to the controversial polar aprotic solvents NMP, DMAc and DMF. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research carr...

Horizon extends industry-leading gene editing IP portfolio

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 06:00:10 +0100

Horizon Discovery Group announced the extension of their pre-existing non-exclusive, worldwide license agreement to significantly expand Horizon’s license coverage for the use of the CRISPR gene editing technology. This will enable Horizon to use CRISPR in multiple new areas across its products and ...

Proteros names Dave Lemus as new executive board member

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:00:01 +0100

Proteros biostructures GmbH announced that the Company’s Supervisory board had appointed Dave Lemus, previously a non-executive director at Proteros, as Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Proteros Biostructures GmbH. Additionally, he will serve in the rol...

Microscope using UV instead of visible light emerging as diagnostic tool

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 10:20:13 +0100

MUSE image of sebaceous glandA microscope using ultraviolet light to illuminate samples enables pathologists to assess high-resolution images of biopsies and other fresh tissue samples for disease within minutes, without requiring the time-consuming preparation of conventional slides or destroying t...

Nanoparticles to target, kill endometrial cancer

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:46:05 +0100

Tumor-targeting nanoparticles loaded with a drug that makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy's toxicity could be used to treat an aggressive and often deadly form of endometrial cancer, according to new research by the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. For the first time, researche...

Programmable drug delivery platform combats diseased cells at genetic level

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:45:48 +0100

A new drug delivery system that uses a synthetic-biological hybrid nanocapsule could provide a smart technology for targeted treatment of a variety of serious diseases at the genetic level. The hybrid offers a way to correct diseased cells at the genetic level - while at the same time leaving health...

A new role for an old protein in breast cancer

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:45:47 +0100

Scientists led by Dr Chris Toseland of the University's School of Biosciences studied a protein called Myosin VI, a molecular motor which acts as a courier to transport other proteins within our cells. Myosin VI is highly present in many cancers yet the role is unclear. Dr Toseland's study to unders...

Can loss of smell be repaired?

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:45:45 +0100

Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine, led by Dr. James E. Schwob, are examining the behavior of adult stem cells within the context of aging and, specifically, the sense of smell. As part of the normal aging process, older adults frequently experience a decline in their olfactory funct...

Shut-off switch for lymphoma

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:45:40 +0100

A safety switch that automatically stops the device for example before it overheats are built into many electrical appliances. The body's cells are also equipped with this kind of "emergency stop" functions. They make sure that a defective cell doesn't grow uncontrollably, becoming a tumor cell. A t...

3D-printed minifactories

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 10:07:46 +0100

ETH researchers have developed a biocompatible ink for 3D printing using living bacteria. This makes it possible to produce biological materials capable of breaking down toxic substances or producing high-purity cellulose for biomedical applications. There will soon be nothing that cannot be produce...

Squeezing low-cost electricity from sustainable biomaterial

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 09:32:38 +0100

Mobile phone speakers and motion detectors in cars and video games may soon be powered by electricity generated from low cost and sustainable biomaterials, according to research carried out at University of Limerick (UL), Ireland. Scientists at UL's Bernal Institute have discovered that the biomolec...

New diagnostic tool aids quality control in xenotransplantations

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 06:00:32 +0100

Sugars are highly important molecules for all life. They convey vital signals, and thus participate in manifold biological processes (e.g. determination of blood-types and the formation of bacterial biofilms). Sugars are often recognized by specialized proteins called lectins. Researchers at the Hel...

The function of many proteins remains uncertain

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 06:00:28 +0100

The DNA of every organism holds the blueprints for building all the proteins it needs for its metabolic processes. While researchers already know what the blueprints look like for most proteins, they do not know what many of these proteins actually do in the body. An interdisciplinary team composed ...

Breakthrough Prize for Kim Nasmyth

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 06:00:21 +0100

Kim Nasmyth, emeritus director of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, receives one of five 2018 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences for his work on chromosome segregation, largely performed at the IMP. The award that comes with three million US dollars is the most highly ...

Next generation solvent contributes to next generation biofuel production from biomass

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

The first-generation biofuel, industrialized, ethanol, is produced from foodstuffs like maize, and thus poses great concern about a possible future shortage of food. It is therefore necessary to produce ethanol from non-food biomass like weeds, waste paper, paper cup, etc. (second-generation biofuel...

New vaccine technique effectively fights breast cancer in mice

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:00:08 +0100

A new vaccine technique can fight a certain type of breast cancer in mice. So-called HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for between 20 and 30 per cent of all cases of breast cancer in humans. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Bologna now show that the same type of...

Why are genetically identical individuals different? Ask your mum!

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:00:07 +0100

Does the age of a mother influence the traits and characteristics of her progeny, and how? A team of scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have addressed these questions by studying tiny, genetically identical C. elegans worms. "Our lab has long been interested in unders...