Like entry to an exclusive nightclub, getting inside a gram-negative bacterial cell is no easy feat for chemical compounds. But now a secret handshake has been revealed: A new study lays out several rules to successfully cross the cells’ fortified exteriors, which could lead to the development of sorely needed antibiotics.
“It’s a breakthrough,” says microbiologist Kim Lewis of...
Immune system cells may help your heart keep the beat. These cells, called macrophages, usually protect the body from invading pathogens. But a new study published April 20 in Cell shows that in mice, the immune cells help electricity flow between muscle cells to keep the organ pumping.
Macrophages squeeze in between heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes. These muscle cells...
Hawk moths have a sweet solution to muscle damage.
Manduca sexta moths dine solely on nectar, but the sugary liquid does more than fuel their bodies. The insects convert some of the sugars into antioxidants that protect the moths’ hardworking muscles, researchers report in the Feb. 17 Science.
When animals expend a lot of energy, like hawk moths do as they rapidly beat their wings...
It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...
Dental plaque preserved in fossilized teeth confirms that Neandertals were flexible eaters and may have self-medicated with an ancient equivalent of aspirin.
DNA recovered from calcified plaque on teeth from four Neandertal individuals suggest that those from the grasslands around Beligum’s Spy cave ate woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep, while their counterparts from the forested El...
News in Brief
WASHINGTON — A nasty stomach virus that can linger on fruits and veggies may have met its match in cold plasma.
In experiments, the ionized gas, created by filtering room-temperature air through an electric field, virtually eliminated norovirus from lettuce, researchers reported February 7 at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting.
Norovirus is the leading cause...
News in Brief
WASHINGTON — Scientists usually worry that animal diseases could spill over into humans. But “spillback” of Zika virus into monkeys in South America could be just as dangerous.
In areas where Zika infections are prevalent among humans and mosquitoes are abundant, the virus may be transmitted to wild primates, disease ecologist Barbara Han said February 6 at the American Society for...
Before an immature Zika virus becomes infectious, it does some major remodeling.
In a fledgling virus particle, the inner protein and RNA core (shown in dark blue above, right) forms bridges to the membrane layer that surrounds it. As the virus matures, the core shuffles around and the bridges melt away (below, right).
It’s the first time scientists have seen such rearrangement in...
Salmonella bacteria don’t want your body to starve on their account. The microbes’ motives, though, are (probably) purely poop-related.
The body sometimes sacrifices appetite to fight off infection: Less energy for the host also means less energy for the pathogen. Understanding how bacteria cope with this tactic can inform treatments.
When it reaches the gut, Salmonella enterica ...
Immune cells in a malaria-transmitting mosquito sense the invading parasites and deploy an army of tiny messengers in response. These couriers help turn on a mosquito’s defenses, killing off the parasites, a new study suggests.
This more detailed understanding of the mosquito immune system, published January 20 in Science Immunology, might help scientists design new ways to combat...