Physics of Biology

   

Molecular Sunscreen Response

Authors: George Rajna

In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom. [25] Scientists at the University of York have used florescent proteins from jellyfish to help shed new light on how DNA replicates. [24] When the molecules that carry the genetic code in our cells are exposed to harm, they have defenses against potential breakage and mutations. [23] A Harvard researcher seeking a model for the earliest cells has created a system that self-assembles from a chemical soup into cell-like structures that grow, move in response to light, replicate when destroyed, and exhibit signs of rudimentary evolutionary selection. [22] New research led by Harvard Medical School reveals a critical step in a molecular chain of events that allows cells to mend broken DNA. [21] Now, Barton's lab has shown that this wire-like property of DNA is also involved in a different critical cellular function: replicating DNA. [20] Researchers have introduced a new type of "super-resolution" microscopy and used it to discover the precise walking mechanism behind tiny structures made of DNA that could find biomedical and industrial applications. [19] Genes tell cells what to do—for example, when to repair DNA mistakes or when to die—and can be turned on or off like a light switch. Knowing which genes are switched on, or expressed, is important for the treatment and monitoring of disease. Now, for the first time, Caltech scientists have developed a simple way to visualize gene expression in cells deep inside the body using a common imaging technology. [18] Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that a potential new drug reduces the number of brain cells destroyed by stroke and then helps to repair the damage. [17] Researchers at the University of Connecticut have uncovered new information about how particles behave in our bloodstream, an important advancement that could help pharmaceutical scientists develop more effective cancer drugs. [16]

Comments: 45 Pages.

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[v1] 2017-06-23 07:43:57

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