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Tuberculosis vaccine finds an improved route


Tuberculosis is the deadliest human infection, killing 1.5 million people in 2019 alone (go.nature.com/2kbuiq). It is widely accepted that an effective vaccine against the bacterium responsible, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, would be the most practical way to control the disease. However, the pat... Read More

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These science claims from 2019 could be big deals


When an asteroid smashed into Earth about 66 million years ago, it triggered an immense earthquake. A fossil site in North Dakota records the mayhem in the hours after impact, scientists reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But what’s more tantalizing is wh... Read More

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Structural basis for the activation and inhibition of Sirtuin 6 by quercetin and its derivatives


Mammalian Sirtuin 6 (Sirt6) is an NAD+-dependent protein deacylase regulating metabolism and chromatin homeostasis. Sirt6 activation protects against metabolic and aging-related diseases, and Sirt6 inhibition is considered a cancer therapy. Available Sirt6 modulators show insufficient potency and sp... Read More

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Towards Rational Computational Engineering of Psychrophilic Enzymes


Cold-adapted enzymes from psychrophilic species achieve their high catalytic efficiency at low temperature by a different partitioning of the activation free energy into its enthalpic and entropic components, compared to orthologous mesophilic enzymes. Their lower activation enthalpy, partly compens... Read More

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New Tool to Study Molecular Structures Uses a Laser, a Crystal and Light Detectors


Researchers have built a new tool to study molecules using a laser, a crystal and light detectors. This new technology will reveal nature’s smallest sculptures – the structures of molecules – with increased detail and specificity.“We live in the molecular world where most things around us are made o... Read More

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Revolutionary Optical Tweezers Manipulate Atoms, Molecules and Living Cells Like “Tractor Beams”


They are reminiscent of the “tractor beam” in Star Trek: special light beams can be used to manipulate molecules or small biological particles. Even viruses or cells can be captured or moved. However, these optical tweezers only work with objects in empty space or in transparent liquids. Any disturb... Read More

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Carbon dioxide capture and use could become big business


The research, published in Nature, is the most comprehensive study to date investigating the potential future scale and cost of 10 different ways to use carbon dioxide, including in fuels and chemicals, plastics, building materials, soil management and forestry. The study considered processes u... Read More

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What keeps cells in shape? New research points to two types of motion


The health of cells is maintained, in part, by two types of movement of their nucleoli, a team of scientists has found. This dual motion within a surrounding fluid, it reports, adds to our understanding of what contributes to healthy cellular function and points to how its disruption could affect hu... Read More

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Applying a Proteomics-based Approach to the Clinic


Clinics rely heavily on laboratory tests, but it's usually one protein or one small molecule. The technical questions are about how accurate these are. For example, when faced with diabetics with high triglycerides, the laboratory scientists will know that the antibody will stop working, but the tes... Read More

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Label-free multimodal imaging platform enables non-invasive study of cell cultures


Most analytical methods in biology require invasive procedures to analyze samples, which leads to irreversible changes or even their destruction. Furthermore, the sensitivity of such approaches often stems from the averaging of signals generated by a large number of cells, making it impossible to st... Read More

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Harnessing Biological Insight to Accelerate Tuberculosis Drug Discovery


Robert Koch isolated the causative agent, Mycobacteriumtuberculosis (Mtb), in 1882. Today, socioeconomic upliftment and the availability of a neonatal vaccine and drug therapy have significantly reduced TB incidence in many countries, raising the prospect of its effective elimination in some regio... Read More

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Discover the Most-Read Biological Chemistry Articles of September 2019


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, chronic neurodegenerative movement disorder with features such as tremor, hypokinesia, and muscle rigidity of unknown cause.1,2 The degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra is the primary cause of PD.3−5 It is thought to induce an im... Read More

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Experts unlock key to photosynthesis, a find that could help us meet food security demands


Photosynthesis is the foundation of life on Earth providing the food, oxygen and energy that sustains the biosphere and human civilisation.Using a high-resolution structural model, the team found that the protein complex provides the electrical connection between the two light-powered chlorophyll-pr... Read More

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Microbes harvest electrons: Novel process discovered


Bacteria don't have mouths, so they need another way to bring their fuel into their bodies. New research from Washington University in St. Louis reveals how one such bacteria pulls in electrons straight from an electrode source. The work from the laboratory of Arpita Bose, assistant professor of bio... Read More

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Chemists Reveal New Theory For How Life On Earth May Have Begun


Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a fascinating new theory for how life on Earth may have begun. Their experiments, described today in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrate that key chemical reactions that support life today could have been carried out with in... Read More

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Chemical Biology 2020


An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood. The enzymes could now potentially be used to sustainably convert wood biomass into valuabl... Read More

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Glycan microarrays as chemical tools for identifying glycan recognition by immune proteins


Glycans and glycan binding proteins (GBPs or lectins) are essential components in almost every aspect of immunology. Investigations of the interactions between glycans and GBPs have greatly advanced our understanding of the molecular basis of these fundamental immunological processes. In order to be... Read More

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Alterations in phosphatidylethanolamine levels affect the generation of Aβ


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by numerous pathological features, including the presence of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular β‐amyloid plaques (Selkoe, 2001). Major components of the plaques are amyloid β‐peptides (Aβ). Irrespective of t... Read More

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Nonhistone methylation


Accumulation of damaged (isoaspartyl‐containing) proteins has been demonstrated in different species including mice. The accumulation of these potentially dysfunctional isoaspartyl proteins is counteracted by a protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCMT). Chavous et al. demonstrated that flies ubiquit... Read More

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Methionine metabolism and methyltransferases in the regulation of aging and lifespan extension across species


Methionine restriction (MetR) extends lifespan across different species and exerts beneficial effects on metabolic health and inflammatory responses. In contrast, certain cancer cells exhibit methionine auxotrophy that can be exploited for therapeutic treatment, as decreasing dietary methionine sele... Read More

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Extension of Cellular Lifespan by Methionine Restriction Involves Alterations in Central Carbon Metabolism and Is Mitophagy-Dependent


Methionine restriction (MR) is one of only a few dietary manipulations known to robustly extend healthspan in mammals. For example, rodents fed a methionine-restricted diet are up to 45% longer-lived than control-fed animals. Tantalizingly, ongoing studies suggest that humans could enjoy similar ben... Read More

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Cytoplasm of scrambled frog eggs organizes into cell-like structures


"We were gobsmacked," said James Ferrell, MD, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology and of biochemistry. "If you blend a computer, you'd end up with tiny bits of computer, and they wouldn't even be able to add two and two. But, lo and behold, the cytoplasm reorganizes."Remarkably, the self-... Read More

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Accurate and transferable multitask prediction of chemical properties with an atoms-in-molecules neural network


Atomic and molecular properties could be evaluated from the fundamental Schrodinger’s equation and therefore represent different modalities of the same quantum phenomena. Here, we present AIMNet, a modular and chemically inspired deep neural network potential. We used AIMNet with multitarget tra... Read More

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A one-pot, high-yield CFPS system was developed from a recoded strain of E. coli


The site-specific incorporation of non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins via amber suppression provides access to novel protein properties, structures, and functions. Historically, poor protein expression yields resulting from release factor 1 (RF1) competition has limited this technology.... Read More

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TULIP2: an improved method for the identification of ubiquitin E3- specific targets


Protein modification by Ubiquitin or Ubiquitin-like modifiers is mediated by an enzyme cascade composed of E1s, E2s and E3s enzymes. E1s, or ubiquitin-activating enzymes, perform the ubiquitin activation. Next, ubiquitin is transferred to ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes or E2s. Finally, ubiquitin... Read More

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