Ion channels in the membrane vesicles that mediate intracellular protein transport play a crucial role in cell physiology. A method now allows them to be studied with greater specificity than ever before.
Biochemists have elucidated the structure of an enzyme that supplies carotenoid, investigators report. The lack of vitamin A in food is a major cause of health problems worldwide and can lead to blindness and even death. This is especially a problem in threshold or third-world countries, where children are likely to suffer from a lack of vitamin A or its precursor beta-carotene due to malnourishment.
Parked vehicles can quickly become a life-threatening environment for unattended children or dogs during the summer months. Dangerous cabin temperatures can be reached in a matter of minutes. Researchers not only calculated the temperature rise but also developed a dynamic model that requires only three readily available parameters to predict this increase: outdoor air temperature, wind velocity and solar radiation. All three values are available on an hourly basis from standard meteorological stations. This makes the model ideal as the basis for warning indications in modern vehicles, as an app and as a forensic tool in hyperthermia deaths.
Engineers say a method called digital holographic microscopy could be used to detect living microbes in space.
In 2014, a team of researchers found that clams from the Holocene Epoch (that began 11,700 years ago) contained clues about how sea level rise due to climate change could foreshadow a rise in parasitic trematodes. Now, an international team has found that rising seas could be detrimental to human health on a much shorter time scale.
In addition to the Cas9 protein that bacteria use to bind and snip DNA, bacteria have other Cas proteins that know where to insert that viral DNA into the CRISPR region to remember which viruses have attacked and mount a defense. A research team has discovered how these proteins — Cas1 and Cas2 — locate and insert the viral DNA, and it relies on the flexibility of these enzymes and the shape of the DNA.
A new study suggests that paying people to conserve their trees could be a highly cost-effective way to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions and should be a key part of the global strategy to fight climate change. The study sought to evaluate how effective ‘Payments for Ecosystems’ (PES) is at reducing deforestation.
Organs respond to injuries with the formation of new fibrous tissue, which can result in scarring. This process called fibrogenesis can now be monitored noninvasively on a molecular level, as scientists report. They have created a new gadolinium-based probe for magnetic resonance imaging that specifically reports the proteins involved in fibrogenesis. The imaging method may provide a quantitative assessment of the formation of the potentially harmful scar tissue.
Even though ice cream connoisseurs may insist that ice cream with more fat tastes better, a team of food scientists found that people generally cannot tell the difference between fat levels in ice creams.
For some developmental genes one allele must stay silent, otherwise debilitating syndromes and cancers can arise. Scientists have now uncovered a new imprinting mechanism cells use to keep these genes quiet in mice.