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New Design Makes Previously Inaccessible Proteins Vulnerable to Drugs

New Design Makes Previously Inaccessible Proteins Vulnerable to Drugs | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A team of researchers at Yale University have identified a molecular signal that allows potentially therapeutic proteins to hitch a ride into cells using vesicles, possibly making previously inaccessible proteins vulnerable to drugs.

 

One of the most daunting challenges facing pharmaceutical scientists today are “undruggable proteins” – the approximately 80% of proteins involved in human disease that do not interact with current drugs. Most drugs today are very small molecules and fit snuggly into relatively deep pockets in a protein, usually to inhibit a chemical reaction. But many proteins involved in disease do not perform chemical reactions. Instead they bind to other proteins, or DNA, or RNA. It has proven extremely difficult to design small molecules that inhibit these binding interactions.

 

This new discovery of a molecular signal allows therapeutic proteins to hitch a ride into cells using vesicles, or small packets of molecular information that fuse with membranes of cells in a process called endocytosis. The signal helps the protein escape from the vesicle to reach the interior of the cell.

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Enceladus: home of alien lifeforms? Plumes of ice particles, water vapor and organic compounds

Enceladus: home of alien lifeforms? Plumes of ice particles, water vapor and organic compounds | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Mars might dominates the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system, but a growing number of scientists believe Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn, is a much better bet. Many now believe it offers the best hope we have of discovering life on another world inside our solar system.

 

As a a moon, Enceladus with its mere 310 miles in diameter is quite small, and is orbiting in deep, cold space, 1 billion miles away from the warmth of the sun. However, what makes Enceladus a prime candidate for harboring life -- it got liquid water, organic material and a source of heat. Cassini's observations suggest Enceladus possesses a subterranean ocean that is kept liquid by the moon's internal heat. The unknown source of energy is producing around 16 gigawatts of power and looks very like the geothermal energy sources we have on Earth – like the deep vents we see in our ocean beds and which bubble up hot gases.

 

At the moon's south pole, Enceladus's underground ocean appears to rise close to the surface. At a few sites, cracks have developed and water is bubbling to the surface before being vented into space, along with complex organic chemicals that also appear to have built up in its sea.

 

Equally remarkable is the impact of this water on Saturn. The planet is famed for its complex system of rings, made of bands of small particles in orbit round the planet. There are seven main rings: A, B, C, D, E, F and G, and the giant E-ring is linked directly with Enceladus. The water the moon vents into space turns into ice crystals and these feed the planet's E-ring. If all geysers of Enceladus were turned off, the great E-ring of Saturn would disappear within a few years. For a little moon, Enceladus has quite an impact.

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Vital Ozone Graphics - UNEP/GRID-Arendal - Maps & Graphics library

Vital Ozone Graphics - UNEP/GRID-Arendal - Maps & Graphics library | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Vital ozone Graphics is a compilation of illustrations and case studies intended to describe the issues dealing with the depletion and condition of the Ozone layer encasing earth. The ozone layer filters out dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, thus protecting life on Earth. Scientists believe that the ozone layer was formed about 400 million years ago, essentially remaining undisturbed for most of that time. In 1974, two chemists from the University of California startled the world community with the discovery that emissions of man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a widely used group of industrial chemicals, might be threatening the ozone layer.

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Suicide Bombers - Old Termites Blow Themselves Up to Protect the Nest

Suicide Bombers - Old Termites Blow Themselves Up to Protect the Nest | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

When trekking through a forest in French Guiana to study termites, a group of biologists noticed unique spots of blue on the backs of the insects in one nest. Curious, one scientist reached down to pick up one of these termites with a pair of forceps. It exploded. The blue spots, the team discovered, contain explosive crystals, and they're found only on the backs of the oldest termites in the colony. The aged termites carry out suicide missions on behalf of their nest mates.

 

After their initial observation, the team carried out field studies of Neocapritermes taracua termites and discovered that those with the blue spots also exploded during encounters with other species of termites or larger predators. The researchers found that the secretions released during the explosion killed or paralyzed opponents from a competing termite species. However, if the scientists removed the blue crystal from the termites, their secretions were no longer toxic.

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Reynolds Pest's comment, October 15, 2012 9:33 AM
This is very interesting news on these Termites. Are these the only species of termites that have defensive capabilities this effective?
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Whole Genome Sequencing of Diverse African Hunter-Gatherers

Whole Genome Sequencing of Diverse African Hunter-Gatherers | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

For the first time, we are getting high coverage sequences of African genomes. The results are astounding.

 

To reconstruct modern human evolutionary history and identify loci that have shaped hunter-gatherer adaptation, the whole genomes of five individuals in each of three different hunter-gatherer populations at >60× coverage were sequenced: Pygmies from Cameroon and Khoesan-speaking Hadza and Sandawe from Tanzania. Over 13.4 million variants were identified, substantially increasing the set of known human variation. Evidence of archaic introgression in all three populations was found, and the distribution of time to most recent common ancestors from these regions is similar to that observed for introgressed regions in Europeans. Additionally, numerous loci were identified that harbor signatures of local adaptation, including genes involved in immunity, metabolism, olfactory and taste perception, reproduction, and wound healing. Within the Pygmy population, multiple highly differentiated loci exist that play a role in growth and anterior pituitary function and are associated with height.

 

In summary:

• 13.4 million variants identified in African hunter-gatherers, many of which are nove

• Evidence of archaic admixture found in the genomes of African hunter-gatherers

• Selection scans implicate loci involved in taste perception, metabolism, and immunity

• Genetic associations with height are found for Pygmy variants located on chromosome 3

 

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Add a Wolfram Demonstration to Your Web Site in One Easy Step

Add a Wolfram Demonstration to Your Web Site in One Easy Step | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Easily share more than 8,000 interactive apps covering a huge variety of topics in the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. Now you can easily embed any Demonstration you like on your own blog or website in one step. Watch this short video or read on to see how (we recommend viewing the video in full-screen mode).

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Mapping Zoonoses - Emerging Zoonotic Disease Events, 1940-2012

Mapping Zoonoses - Emerging Zoonotic Disease Events, 1940-2012 | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Diseases that can be shared between humans and animals, like rabies or bovine tuberculosis, have an enormous impact around the world. Especially in poorer communities, where livestock often provide food and a possible economic route out of poverty, such zoonotic diseases can worsen human health while reducing food production. A new analysis published this week (July 5) by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya maps the confluence of zoonotic disease, poverty, and livestock production, primarily in resource-poor nations. The authors hope that these maps will help policy-makers and public officials allocate funds and devise strategies for alleviating animal-borne diseases and poverty in the regions of the world most in need.

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Bats, a reservoir of resurgent viruses

Bats, a reservoir of resurgent viruses | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Measles, mumps, pneumonia, influenza and encephalitis in man, Carré's disease in dogs, Ovine Rinderpest (PPR)… all of these diseases are caused by viruses from the same family: Paramyxoviridae.


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3-D Transistors - Intel creates faster and more energy-efficient processors

3-D Transistors - Intel creates faster and more energy-efficient processors | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In an effort to keep squeezing more components onto silicon chips, Intel has begun mass-producing processors based on 3-D transistors. The move not only extends the life of Moore's Law (the prediction that the number of transistors per chip will double roughly every two years) but could help significantly increase the energy efficiency and speed of processors.

 

The on-and-off flow of current in conventional chips is controlled by an electric field generated by a so-called gate that sits on top of a wide, shallow conducting channel embedded in a silicon substrate. With the 3-D transistors, that current-carrying channel has been flipped upright, rising off the surface of the chip. The channel material can thus be in contact with the gate on both its sides and its top, leaving little of the channel exposed to interference from stray charges in the substrate below. In earlier transistors, these charges interfered with the gate's ability to block current, resulting in a constant flow of leakage current.

 

Intel claims the new transistors can switch up to 37 percent faster than its previous transistors or consume as little as half as much power. Faster switching means faster chips. In addition, because of their smaller footprint, the transistors can be packed closer together. Signals thus take less time to travel between them, further speeding up the chip.

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Kepler spots many 'perfectly aligned' alien worlds

Kepler spots many 'perfectly aligned' alien worlds | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Spot-on arrangement of planets circling the sun-like star Kepler-30 builds the case for how exoplanetary systems form.

 

Planets circling Kepler-30 transit the same sunspot, indicating they lie in the same geometric plane. The finding suggests a common birth in a rotating disk of gas, much like the suspected origins of our solar system. Kepler-30's brood may also include moonlets, asteroids and other bodies circling in the same plane.

 

That means that astronomers have now confirmed that our solar system isn't unique, after the discovery of a planetary system that is as flat and orderly as our own.

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Feeding 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of rapidly worsening climate change will be huge problem

Feeding 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of rapidly worsening climate change will be huge problem | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

“Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate may well be the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced.

 

A basic prediction of climate science is that many parts of the world will experience longer and deeper droughts, thanks to the synergistic effects of drying, warming and the melting of snow and ice.

Precipitation patterns are expected to shift, expanding the dry subtropics. What precipitation there is will probably come in extreme deluges, resulting in runoff rather than drought alleviation. Warming causes greater evaporation and, once the ground is dry, the Sun’s energy goes into baking the soil, leading to a further increase in air temp- erature. That is why, for instance, so many temperature records were set for the United States in the 1930s Dust Bowl; and why, in 2011, drought-stricken Texas saw the hottest summer ever recorded for a US state. Finally, many regions are expected to see earlier snowmelt, so less water will be stored on mountain tops for the summer dry season. Added to natural climatic variation, such as the El Niño–La Niña cycle, these factors will intensify seasonal or decade-long droughts. Although the models don’t all agree on the specifics, the overall drying trends are clear.

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Artificial Cerebellum in Robotics Developed

Artificial Cerebellum in Robotics Developed | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

University of Granada researchers have developed an artificial cerebellum (a biologically-inspired adaptive microcircuit) that controls a robotic arm with human-like precision. The cerebellum is the part of the human brain that controls the locomotor system and coordinates body movements.


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IBM Research Creates World's Smallest 3D Map - Brings Low-Cost, Ease of Use to Creation of Nanoscale Objects

IBM Research Creates World's Smallest 3D Map - Brings Low-Cost, Ease of Use to Creation of Nanoscale Objects | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

IBM scientists have created a 3D map of the earth so small that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt.* The scientists accomplished this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny, silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity. This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and optoelectronics.


To demonstrate the technique's unique capability, the team created several 3D and 2D patterns, using different materials for each one as reported in the scientific journals Science and Advanced Materials:


A 25-nanometer-high 3D replica of the Matterhorn, a famous Alpine mountain that soars 4,478 m (14,692 ft) high, was created in molecular glass, representing a scale of 1:5 billion.


Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was written on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

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Lysin PlyC - a new natural antibiotic with remarkable anti-bacterial properties

Lysin PlyC - a new natural antibiotic with remarkable anti-bacterial properties | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered the structure and operating procedures of a powerful anti-bacterial killing machine that could become an alternative to antibiotics.The bacteriophage-encoded lysin, PlyC, kills a large spectrum of bacteria --- species that can cause symptoms ranging from sore throats to pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. First identified in 1925, PlyC was purified in the 1960s by Professor Fischetti, but its atomic structure proved elusive until now.

 

Bacteriophages, viruses that specifically infect and kill bacteria using special proteins called lysins, have been investigated as possible treatments since 1919. However, with the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s, 'phage therapy' was generally abandoned. Because of multi-resistancy development against many antibiotics, there is renewed interest in phage-encoded lysins.

 

PlyC is actually made from nine separate protein 'parts' that assemble to form a very effective bacterial killing machine. It actually resembles a flying saucer carrying two warheads. It operates by locking onto the bacterial surface using eight separate docking sites located on one face of a flying saucer-like structure. The two warheads can then chew through the surface of the cell, rapidly killing the bacteria.

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Stunning Infrared Photographs

Stunning Infrared Photographs | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

We're no strangers to infrared photography, yet the visual results of the technology never cease to amaze us. Photographer Oleg Stelmach, aka Elektraua, tackles the art of using infrared film to transform viridescent landscapes into mesmerizing expanses of white, icy foliage. His location of choice is the newly reopened part of Kiev called "Andrew's Descent." The urban setting with a healthy dose of towering trees and plant life is given a brand new, wintery look, boasting ivory leaves against a sapphire sky.

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Ramesh Raskar: Imaging at a trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion.

Ramesh Raskar presents femto-photography, a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion. This technology may someday be used to build cameras that can look "around" corners or see inside the body without X-rays.
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Introduction to Biophotonics - UC Davis Course [20 hours VIDEO]

This is the introductory class for biophotonics with an overview of the UC Davis Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology. It is taught by Marco Molinaro, chief education officer for the center, and James Shackelford, director of the UC Davis Integrated Studies Program and a professor of chemical engineering and materials science.

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The Plankton Schooner

The Plankton Schooner | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

"Known as the Tara Oceans, the year-long expedition returned to port in Lorient, France, at the end of March, and already, preliminary analyses of the samples collected has turned up hundreds of thousands of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, protists, metazoans, viruses, and fish larvae. In total, the team collected samples from 153 different locations, from the water surface to depths of nearly 1 kilometer. The preliminary results focus on 27,000 samples from just 35 of those spots, but even from this subset of samples, it’s becoming clear that smaller organisms are more abundant and diverse, Karsenti said, and that there is “an almost entirely unknown viral diversity.” Other findings include the fact that archaea tend to live with bacteria, but not protists or viruses; there is large geographical variation in diversity; and many plankton species appear to be very sensitive to temperature changes and other factors, including ocean streams and acidity. Metagenomic analyses of the samples have also revealed an abundance of unknown protein sequence codes, as well as complex interactions between species of different kingdoms."


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Massive Ice Melt In Greenland Worries Scientists

Massive Ice Melt In Greenland Worries Scientists | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A pair of NASA satellite images taken just four days apart tells a potentially worrying story of melting ice in the polar summer.

The first, snapped from orbit on July 8, shows about 40 percent of the Greenland ice sheet shaded in pink or red to illustrate probable or confirmed surface melting. The second photo, taken on July 12, shows nearly the entire land mass — 97 percent — blotched in a red hue.

 

In a typical year, only about half of the Greenland ice sheet undergoes this kind of melting before it later refreezes. But the rapidity and extent of the July change is what has caught scientists off guard, said Thomas Mote, a professor at the University of Georgia, who helped confirm the data from three satellites.

 

Scientists note that besides covering a large area, the melting is happening at the top of the ice cap, where temperatures are coldest. They blame a massive heat dome parked over the island that has set up perfect conditions for melting high-altitude snow and ice.

 

Alarming? "I wouldn't use that word," say Mote. "We know from looking at ice cores that melt at the highest levels of elevation in Greenland has occurred in the past — not in our lifetimes, and not since the era of satellites, but it certainly has occurred." The last time it happened was about 150 years ago, in 1889, according to ice core records. But the Greenland melt roughly coincides with a giant chunk of ice described as "twice the size of Manhattan," breaking off the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.

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African hunter gatherer tribe gives clue to obesity

African hunter gatherer tribe gives clue to obesity | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The idea that exercise is more important than diet in the fight against obesity has been contradicted by new research. A team of scientists from the US, Tanzania and the UK, measured energy expenditure in 30 Hadza men and women aged between 18 and 75. They found physical activity levels were much higher in the Hadza men and women, but when corrected for size and weight, their metabolic rate was no different to that of Westerners.

 

Dr. Herman Pontzer of the department of anthropology at Hunter College, New York, said everyone had assumed that hunter gatherers would burn hundreds more calories a day than adults in the US and Europe. The data came as a surprise, he said, highlighting the complexity of energy expenditure.

 

Being active is really important to your health but it won't keep you thin - we need to eat less to do that.

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Moon Formed In Interplanetary Hit-and-Run Incident

Moon Formed In Interplanetary Hit-and-Run Incident | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
The origin of the Moon is one of the more important problems for planetary geologists and in recent years, they've made giant strides in understanding how it happened. That's largely because of a much improved understanding of the Moon's composition an interior structure.

 

It turns out that our interplanetary companion has a similar composition to Earth, including an iron core. The consensus is that this rules out the possibility that the Moon formed elsewhere and was later captured by the Earth's gravity. Instead, it must have formed from the debris created by giant collision between the Earth and a Mars-sized body.

 

But there is a problem with this model. The silicate surfaces of both the Moon and the Earth have a similar isotopic signature indicating that they must have formed from the same stuff.

 

But in a slow, grazing impact, most of the debris that ends up in orbit and forms into the Moon comes from the Mars-sized impactor, which is unlikely to have had the required isotopic signature. That's a major problem. Today, Andreas Reufer at the University of Bern in Switzerland and a few pals say they've come up with an alternative hypothesis that fixes this problem. They say the Earth must have been grazed by a larger object travelling at much higher velocity. This extra speed caused much of the impact debris to escape, hence the hit-and-run moniker. However, the debris that became trapped in orbit would have been a mixture of Earth and impactor material with an isotopic content that matches the observed signatures here and on the Moon.

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Cosmic ray haul for space 'LHC'

Cosmic ray haul for space 'LHC' | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The largest-ever experiment in space has reported the collection of some 18 billion "cosmic ray" events that may help unravel the Universe's mysteries.The data haul is far greater than the total number of cosmic rays recorded in a full century of looking to date. Run from a centre at Cern, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) aims to spot dark matter and exotic antimatter.

 

At the heart of the seven-tonne, $2bn machine is a giant, specially designed magnet which bends the paths of extraordinarily high-energy charged particles called cosmic rays onto a series of detectors, giving hints of what the particles are. A series of ever-larger particle accelerators built here on Earth aim to drive particles to ever-higher energies, smashing them into one another to simulate the same processes that create them elsewhere in the cosmos. No Earth-bound experiment can match nature's power as a particle accelerator - and Earth's atmosphere absorbs incoming cosmic rays - so the AMS will catch some of these high-energy particles "from the source", as a kind of complement to the likes of the Large Hadron Collider.

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Palaeolithic ceramics found from artistic culture of Ice Age, thousands of years before pottery was common

Palaeolithic ceramics found from artistic culture of Ice Age, thousands of years before pottery was common | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Evidence of a community of unknown prehistoric artists and craftspeople who “invented” ceramics during the last Ice Age – thousands of years before pottery became commonplace – has been found in modern-day Croatia.

 

The finds consist of 36 fragments, most of them apparently the broken-off remnants of modelled animals, and come from a site called Vela Spila on the Adriatic coast. Archaeologists believe that they were the products of an artistic culture which sprang up in the region about 17,500 years ago. Their ceramic art flourished for about 2,500 years, but then disappeared.

 

Most histories of the technology begin with the more settled cultures of the Neolithic era, which began about 10,000 years ago. Now it is becoming clear that the story is much more complex. Over thousands of years, ceramics were invented, lost, reinvented and lost again. The earliest producers did not make crockery, but seem to have had more artistic inclinations.

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Big Thinking: The Power of Nanoscience [VIDEO]

Berkeley Lab scientists reveal how nanoscience will bring us cleaner energy, faster computers, and improved medicine.

 

Alex Weber-Bargioni: How can we see things at the nanoscale? Alex is pioneering new methods that provide unprecedented insight into nanoscale materials and molecular interactions. The goal is to create rules for building nanoscale materials.

 

Babak Sanii: Nature is an expert at making nanoscale devices such as proteins. Babak is developing ways to see these biological widgets, which could help scientists develop synthetic devices that mimic the best that nature has to offer.

 

Ting Xu: How are we going to make nanoscale devices? A future in which materials and devices are able to assemble themselves may not be that far down the road. Ting is finding ways to induce a wide range of nanoscopic building blocks to assemble into complex structures.

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