Molecular machinery that makes potent antibiotic revealed after decades of research

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Discovery by Rutgers and other scientists could lead to new antibiotics and anticancer drugs

The 3D structure of McbBCD, an enzyme (protein) that makes the potent antibiotic microcin B17 from a smaller protein known as a peptide, as revealed by X-ray crystallography. The red spheres show chemical “cycles” formed by the enzyme that are required for antibacterial activity.

Scientists at Rutgers and universities in Russia, Poland and England have solved a nearly 30-year mystery – how the molecular machinery works in an enzyme that makes a potent antibiotic.

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Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent

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Aerial view of the 2017 field trials where scientists studied how well their plants modified to shortcut photorespiration performed beside unmodified plants in real-world conditions. They found that plants engineered with a synthetic shortcut are about 40 percent more productive. Credit: James Baltz/College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions.

“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.”

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Researchers discover new treatment for diabetes

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Researchers discovered a small molecule that inhibits an enzyme that degrades insulin.

Harvard researchers may have finally identified a chemical compound that could be used to study and treat diabetes after decades of searching. They have discovered a whole different method for maintaining insulin in the blood: by blocking the enzyme that breaks it down.

 

 

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Scientists edit genetic code in a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments in hereditary diseases

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‘Genetic editing’ works by using enzymes to unlock the DNA.

Scientists have edited the genetic code in a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments for some hereditary diseases. The scientists managed to persuade cells in mice to repair a faulty gene but, instead of recreating the flawed piece, the cells generated a healthy one.

Genetically Engineered Brain Virus Can Enhance Memories Made Weeks Earlier

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Scientists find a way to boost the recall of memories even after they’ve started to fade.

Need to cram for a big test? Trying to learn a new language? Just had a great vacation? Scientists have developed a procedure that may be able to help you remember things, as long as you’re willing to inject a genetically engineered virus directly into your brain.

 

 

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MicroRNA In Blood May Help Detect Cancer And Other Diseases

MicroRNA In Blood May Help Detect Cancer And Other Diseases 

 

Tiny pieces of RNA are turning out to play a big role in health. Over the past few years, scientists have found that these molecules, called microRNAs, are involved in key functions in cells and are linked to the development of certain cancers and other diseases. A new study led by scientists at Nanjing University, in China, finds that microRNAs circulating in blood can serve as a molecular “fingerprint” for cancers and diabetes. The findings raise the possibility that a simple blood test could help clinicians tailor treatments to individual patients.

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