Researchers of the ISREC Institute at the School of Life Sciences, EPFL, have deciphered the mechanism whereby some microRNAs are retained in the cell while others are secreted and delivered to neighboring cells.
A newly formed star lights up the surrounding clouds in this new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. Dust particles in the vast clouds that surround the star HD 97300 diffuse its light, like a car headlight in enveloping fog, and create the reflection nebula IC 2631. Although HD 97300 is in the spotlight for now, the very dust that makes it so hard to miss heralds the birth of additional future stars.
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes resistance-free is minus 70 degrees Celsius. Nowadays they are mainly used in magnets for nuclear magnetic resonance tomographs, fusion devices and particle accelerators. Physicists from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg shone laser pulses at a material made up from potassium atoms and carbon atoms arranged in bucky ball structures. For a small fraction of a second, they found it to become superconducting at more than 100 degrees Kelvin - around minus 170 degrees Celsius. A similar effect was already discovered in 2013 by scientists of the same group in a different material, a ceramic oxide belonging to the family of so-called "cuprates". As fullerenes have a relatively simple chemical structure, the researchers hope to be able to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of light-induced superconductivity at high temperatures through their new experiments. Such insights could help in the development of a material which conducts electricity at room temperature without losses, and without optical excitation.
Every school kid learns the basic structure of the Earth: a thin outer crust, a thick mantle, and a Mars-sized core. But is this structure universal? Will rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars have the same three layers? New research suggests that the answer is yes -- they will have interiors very similar to Earth.
Differences in the neural wiring across development of men and women across ages, matched behavioral differences commonly associated with each of the sexes, according to an imaging-based study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published Feb. 1 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Vitamin B6 is essential for all living organisms. Researchers have discovered an unexpected role for this micronutrient, in relation to nitrogen metabolism. The results indicate that one of the vitamers informs the plant of its content in ammonium, a basic nitrogen compound needed for the biosynthesis of various molecules essential for life. In the future, vitamin B6 could be used to ascertain the nitrogen status of plants and eventually prevent the overuse of nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
New research suggests links between a century-long deep freeze across Europe and central Asia with famine, large-scale migration, a plague pandemic that ripped through the Eastern Roman Empire, and the expansion of the Arab Empire.
Critical for human development and health, neural crest cells arise early in the development of vertebrates. They migrate extensively inside the embryo, and differentiate to give rise to a wide array of diverse derivatives. Accessing these cells, however, is difficult. Work done by a research team led by a UC Riverside biomedical scientist now provides a fast, simple and cost-effective method to generate neural crest cells, facilitating research in basic sciences and clinical applications alike.
The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium. The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota is an early signal that the growing use of the new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries that power portable electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles may have untold environmental consequences.
Unlike normal cells, stem cells are pluripotent -- they can become any cell type, which makes them powerful potential treatments for diseases such as diabetes, leukemia and age-related blindness. However, maintaining this versatility until the time is right is a major challenge. This week in ACS Central Science, researchers reveal that mimicking a natural process called diapause can halt stem cells, effectively putting them to sleep for up to two weeks.
Living systems rely on a dizzying variety of chemical reactions essential to development and survival. Most of these involve a specialized class of protein molecules—the enzymes.
In a new study, Hao Yan, director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute presents a clever means of localizing and confining enzymes and the substrate molecules they bind with, speeding up reactions essential for life processes.
The research, which appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications, could have far-reaching applications in fields ranging from improving industrial efficiencies to pioneering new medical diagnostics, guiding targeted drug delivery and producing smart materials. The work also promises to shed new light on particulars of cellular organization and metabolism.
The technique involves the design of specialized, nanometer-scale cages, which self-assemble from lengths of DNA. The cages hold enzyme and substrate in close proximity, considerably accelerating the rate of reactions and shielding them from degradation.
"We have been designing programmable DNA nanostructures with increasing complexity for many years, and it is now time to ask what can we do with these structures," Yan says. "There are numerous other applications from this emerging technology. Through our interdisciplinary collaborative effort, we here describe the use of designer DNA nanocages to compartmentalize enzymatic reactions in a confined environment. Drawing inspiration from Nature, we have uncovered interesting properties, some unexpected."
Researchers at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS, and the University of Lorraine have recently developed a design for a coiled-up acoustic metasurface which can achieve total acoustic absorption in very low-frequency ranges.
A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3-D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver's sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling. Researchers said the advance could help pharmaceutical companies save time and money when developing new drugs. The work was published the week of Feb. 8 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Polymers that visibly change shape when exposed to temperature changes are nothing new. But a research team led by Chemical Engineering Professor Mitch Anthamatten at the University of Rochester created a material that undergoes a shape change that can be triggered by body heat alone, opening the door for new medical and other applications.
A German research group has demonstrated a non-destructive state detection technique for molecular ions. Piet Schmidt and his colleagues from the QUEST-Institute at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt observed changes in the rotational state of a trapped and indirectly cooled molecular ion in real time and in situ. This technique enables novel spectroscopy methods with applications ranging from chemistry to tests of fundamental physics. The results are published in the current issue of 'Nature'.
A UCLA-Stanford study has pinpointed two tiny clusters of neurons in the brain stem that are responsible for transforming normal breaths into sighs. The discovery may one day benefit patients who cannot breathe deeply on their own -- or who suffer from disorders in which frequent sighing becomes debilitating.
Stress in the body's cells is both the cause and consequence of inflammatory diseases or cancer. The cells react to stress to protect themselves. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now developed a new technique that allows studying a fundamental response to stress in much more detail than previously possible: the ADP-ribosylation of chromatin. In the long term, this method could help finding ways of blocking disease-causing processes.
Stars do not accumulate their final mass steadily, but in a series of violent events manifesting themselves as sharp stellar brightening. According to this theory of Eduard Vorobyov from the University of Vienna, stellar brightening can be caused by fragmentation due to gravitational instabilities in massive gaseous disks surrounding young stars, followed by migration of dense gaseous clumps onto the star.
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed the first known statistical theory for the toughness of polycrystalline graphene, which is made with chemical vapor deposition, and found that it is indeed strong, but more importantly, its toughness -- or resistance to fracture -- is quite low.
Using new methods, astrophysicists from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Germany, simulate the common-envelope phase of binary stars, discovering dynamic irregularities that may help to explain how supernovae evolve. They used and adapted the AREPO code for hydrodynamic simulations . It solves the equations on a moving mesh that follows the mass flow, and thus enhances the accuracy of the model.
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