Plants lack eyes and ears, but they can still see, hear, smell and respond to environmental cues and dangers. They do this with the aid of hundreds of membrane proteins that sense microbes or other stresses. Researchers now have created the first network map for 200 of these proteins. The map shows how a few key proteins act as master nodes critical for network integrity, and the map also reveals unknown interactions.
Researchers have developed hardware that uses electric fields to move droplets of chemical or biological solutions around a surface, mixing them in ways that could be used to test thousands of reactions in parallel.
Beneficial bacteria on the skin of lab mice work with the animals' immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research. Researchers say untangling similar mechanisms in humans may improve approaches to managing skin wounds and treating other damaged tissues.
Artificial biology is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. Researchers are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Now they have confirmed that at least one of their new proteins can catalyze biological reactions in E. coli, meaning that a protein designed entirely from scratch functions in cells as a genuine enzyme.
Bean plants that suppress secondary root growth in favor of boosting primary root growth forage greater soil volume to acquire phosphorus, according to researchers, who say their recent findings have implications for plant breeders and improving crop productivity in nutrient-poor soils.
In cells, proteins tightly package the long thread of DNA into pearl necklace-like complexes known as chromatin. Scientists now show for the first time how chromatin moves, answering longstanding questions about how its structure helps regulate gene expression.
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research, certain mutations in the genome of influenza A may help counteract the weakening effects of other mutations.
In what is being described as 'The Teddy Roosevelt effect,' a deadly fungus in the Pacific Northwest may have arrived from Brazil via the Panama Canal, according to a new study. Cryptococcus gattii -- which until a 1999 outbreak in British Columbia's Vancouver Island was considered primarily a tropical fungus -- can cause deadly lung and brain infections in both people and animals.
In a scientific first, researchers have turned skin cells from mice into stem cells by activating a specific gene in the cells using CRISPR technology. The innovative approach offers a potentially simpler technique to produce the valuable cell type and provides important insights into the cellular reprogramming process.
Can tumors teach us about animal evolution on Earth? Researchers believe so and now present a novel hypothesis of why animal diversity increased dramatically on Earth about half a billion years ago. A biological innovation may have been key.
What lives in your dirt? Researchers are one step closer to finding out after compiling the first global atlas of soil bacterial communities and identifying a group of around 500 key species that are both common and abundant worldwide.
Organisms that aren't closely related may evolve similar traits as they adapt to similar challenges. It's called convergent evolution, and familiar examples include the wings of birds, bats, and insects, and echolocation in bats and dolphins. Now, molecular biologists have found evidence of convergent evolution in an important mechanism of gene regulation in humans and mice.
Around 400 million people world-wide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis) – with the usual symptoms such as a runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. Medical researchers have now shown in a Phase II-b study with 180 patients in 11 European centers, that four injections of the synthetically manufactured vaccine BM32 in the first year and a top-up in the second year of treatment relieve the sufferers' symptoms by at least 25%.
Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none. Now, scientists report a rat study that shows they finally have a good lead for a male birth control pill. It's based on ouabain, a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.
According to Charles Darwin the ability to adapt to new conditions is essential for survival of species. The capacity to cope with altered conditions is becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change. New evidence on salt water tolerance in spawning migrating pike from the Baltic Sea suggests that not being adapted to specific local environments may promote persistence in an uncertain, rapidly changing world.
A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. Biologists are trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.