Engineered protein crystals make cells magnetic

If scientists could give living cells magnetic properties, they could perhaps manipulate cellular activities with external magnetic fields. But previous attempts to magnetize cells by producing iron-containing proteins inside them have resulted in only weak magnetic forces. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Nano Letters have engineered genetically encoded protein crystals that can generate magnetic forces many times … Read more

Painting the molecular canvas in super-resolution

To understand how individual molecules play their roles in biological processes inside the cells they are synthesized in, researchers have developed super-resolution microscopy methods to visualize them at the single-molecule level. However, to investigate their functions, ultimately, they would also like to be able to modify them individually at this high resolution. While the visualization … Read more

Sponge skeletons as an important sink of silicon in the global oceans

Silicon is one of the most abundant chemical elements in the universe and, after oxygen, the second one on Earth. In the ocean, it is part of sediments, minerals and rocks and, more importantly, it occurs dissolved in the seawater. This dissolved silicon plays a pivotal role in the ecological functioning of the global oceans. … Read more

DNA replication machinery captured at atom-level detail

Life depends on double-stranded DNA unwinding and separating into single strands that can be copied for cell division. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have determined at atomic resolution the structure of machinery that drives the process. The research appears today in the journal Nature Communications. The process may also help to solve what the study’s … Read more

Research team deciphers enzymatic degradation of sugar from marine alga

Enzymes are biocatalysts that are crucial for the degradation of seaweed biomass in oceans. For the first time, an international team of 19 scientists recently decoded the complete degradation pathway of the algal polysaccharide Ulvan by biocatalysts from a marine bacterium. The results of their study are presented in Nature Chemical Biology. The study was … Read more

The ancient history of Neandertals in Europe

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have retrieved nuclear genome sequences from the femur of a male Neandertal discovered in 1937 in Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, Germany, and from the maxillary bone of a Neandertal girl found in 1993 in Scladina Cave, Belgium. Both Neandertals lived around 120,000 years ago, and … Read more