Biomolecules
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Proteins

Paul Andersen explains the structure and importance of proteins. He describes how proteins are created from amino acids connected by dehydration synthesis. H...
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The Emerging World of Synthetic Genetics

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John C. Chaput, Hanyang Yu, Su Zhang

"For over 20 years, laboratories around the world have been applying the principles of Darwinian evolution to isolate DNA and RNA molecules with specific ligand-binding or catalytic activities. This area of synthetic biology, commonly referred to as in vitro genetics, is made possible by the availability of natural polymerases that can replicate genetic information in the laboratory. Moving beyond natural nucleic acids requires organic chemistry to synthesize unnatural analogues and polymerase engineering to create enzymes that recognize artificial substrates. Progress in both of these areas has led to the emerging field of synthetic genetics, which explores the structural and functional properties of synthetic genetic polymers by in vitro evolution. This review examines recent advances in the Darwinian evolution of artificial genetic polymers and their potential downstream applications in exobiology, molecular medicine, and synthetic biology."

http://bit.ly/T1GFbJ


Via Gerd Moe-Behrens
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Resistant Starch 101 – Everything You Need to Know

Resistant Starch 101 – Everything You Need to Know | Biomolecules | Scoop.it
Most of the carbohydrates in the diet are starches.
Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in grains, potatoes and various foods.
But not all of the starch we eat gets digested.

Via Troy Mccomas (troy48)
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Will Humanity Face a Carbohydrate Shortage? Currently humanity uses around 40% of Earth's photosynthesis

Will Humanity Face a Carbohydrate Shortage? Currently humanity uses around 40% of Earth's photosynthesis | Biomolecules | Scoop.it

Photosynthesis is the single most important transformation on Earth. Using the energy in sunlight, all plants—from single-celled algae to towering redwoods—knit carbon dioxide and water into food and release oxygen as a byproduct. Every year, humanity uses up roughly 40 percent of the planet’s photosynthesis for our own purposes—from feeding a growing population to biofuels. Given that growing human population, is there a limit to how much of the world’s photosynthesis we can appropriate?

 

Satellite measurements now allow precise measurements of the amount of photosynthesis taking place on the planet’s seven continents and assorted islands—or what scientists call “net primary productivity.” Such measurements are based on the amount of ground covered by plants, the density of that growth, and observations of temperature, sunlight and available water. Using these measurements, ecological modeler Steven Running of the University of Montana concludes that plants produce nearly 54 billion metric tons of carbohydrates a year—the bulk of it the complex organic chains of cellulose and lignin.

 

Running has also looked back over the past 30 years and discovered that the total amount of photosynthesis is surprisingly stable. Despite local weather that ranged from droughts to floods, plants soldier on producing roughly the same amount of food year in and year out, varying by less than 2 percent annually. This may be because the inputs of photosynthesis also vary so little—sunlight strength fluctuates only mildly, as does precipitation on a global basis. This finding suggests to Running that the plants’ “net primary productivity” might be usefully thought of as a planetary boundary, a threshold or safe limit for human impacts on natural systems.

 

Uur population is estimated to swell to 9 billion by 2050. Will the photosynthesis on this planet be able to keep up?


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Vincent D'Antonio's curator insight, June 10, 2013 9:11 AM

Utilized in cellular respiration within our mitochondria.

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Lipids

In this video Paul Andersen describes the lipids (of the fats). He explains how they are an important source of energy but are also required to cell membrane...
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A molecular imprint nanosensor for ultrasensitive detection of proteins

A molecular imprint nanosensor for ultrasensitive detection of proteins | Biomolecules | Scoop.it

Molecular imprinting (MI) is a technique for preparing polymer scaffolds that function as synthetic receptors, and imprinted polymers that can selectively recognize organic compounds have been proven useful for sensor development. Although creating synthetic MI polymers (MIPs) that recognize proteins remains challenging, nanodevices and nanomaterials show promise for protein recognition into sensor architectures. Arrays of carbon nanotube (nanotube) tips imprinted with a non-conducting polymer coating can be used to recognize proteins with subpicogram per liter sensitivity using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Specific MI sensors for human ferritin and human papillomavirus derived E7 protein were developed by one research group. The MI-based nanosensor can also discriminate between Ca2+-induced conformational changes in calmodulin. This ultrasensitive, label-free electrochemical detection of proteins offers an alternative to biosensors based on biomolecule recognition.

 

MI technology offers considerable potential as a cost-effective alternative to the use of biomolecule-based recognition in a variety of sensor applications. MIPs afford the creation of specific recognition sites in synthetic polymers by a process that involves co-polymerization of functional monomers and cross-linkers around template molecules. The molecules are removed from the polymer, rendering complementary binding sites capable of subsequent template molecule recognition. Although deposition of MIPs onto the surface of nanostructures may improve sensitivity for recognition of a range of organic compounds, electronic nanosensors capable of recognizing proteins continue to be a challenge to implement, in part, because: 1) the MIP film may attenuate signals generated in response to template binding (due to the large thickness); 2) the detection mechanisms do not readily allow for effective signal conversion of template molecule binding; and 3) the sensor platforms do not support highly sensitive detection.

 

In conclusion, these types of nanosensors should prove highly useful in diagnosis of human disease, such as detection of cancer biomarkers, and in a host of proteomic applications.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Need a pre-bed snack? Go big on complex carbohydrates - Montgomery Advertiser

Need a pre-bed snack? Go big on complex carbohydrates - Montgomery Advertiser | Biomolecules | Scoop.it
Need a pre-bed snack? Go big on complex carbohydrates
Montgomery Advertiser
Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, non-starchy vegetables (carrots, asparagus, pea pods, bean sprouts), popcorn and fruit.
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Biological Molecules

042 - Biological Molecules Paul Andersen describes the four major biological molecules found in living things. He begins with a brief discussion of polymeriz...
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Carbohydrates

Paul Andersen begins by explaining the structure and purpose of carbohydrates. He describes and gives examples of monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccha...
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DNA directly imaged with electron microscope for the first time

DNA directly imaged with electron microscope for the first time | Biomolecules | Scoop.it

It's the most famous corkscrew in history. Now an electron microscope has captured the famous Watson-Crick double helix in all its glory, by imaging threads of DNA resting on a silicon bed of nails. The technique will let researchers see how proteins, RNA and other biomolecules interact with DNA.

 

The structure of DNA was originally discovered using X-ray crystallography. This involves X-rays scattering off atoms in crystallised arrays of DNA to form a complex pattern of dots on photographic film. Interpreting the images requires complex mathematics to figure out what crystal structure could give rise to the observed patterns.

 

The new images are much more obvious, as they are a direct picture of the DNA strands, albeit seen with electrons rather than X-ray photons. The trick used by Enzo di Fabrizio at the University of Genoa, Italy, and his team was to snag DNA threads out of a dilute solution and lay them on a bed of nanoscopic silicon pillars.

 

The team developed a pattern of pillars that is extremely water-repellent, causing the moisture to evaporate quickly and leave behind strands of DNA stretched out and ready to view. The team also drilled tiny holes in the base of the nanopillar bed, through which they shone beams of electrons to make their high-resolution images. The results reveal the corkscrew thread of the DNA double helix, clearly visible. With this technique, researchers should be able to see how single molecules of DNA interact with other biomolecules.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Lipids boost the brain - Medical Xpress

Lipids boost the brain - Medical Xpress | Biomolecules | Scoop.it
Medical Xpress
Lipids boost the brain
Medical Xpress
Their work shows that the presence of these lipids makes the membranes more malleable and therefore more sensitive to deformation and fission by proteins.
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Signs & Symptoms of Too Much Protein in the Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM

Signs & Symptoms of Too Much Protein in the Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM | Biomolecules | Scoop.it
The American Heart Association warns against popular diets that encourage you to eat protein and exclude carbohydrates and other necessary food groups. These diets include Atkins, the Zone and Protein Power. While you'll probably experience a rapid initial weight loss on one of those high-protein diets, your overall healthy will likely suffer, they...

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Nucleic Acids

Paul Andersen explains the importance and structure of nucleic acids. He begins with an introduction to DNA and RNA. He then describes the important parts of...
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Nanoparticles that look and act like cells hide even from the immune system

Nanoparticles that look and act like cells hide even from the immune system | Biomolecules | Scoop.it

By cloaking nanoparticles in the membranes of white blood cells, scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute may have found a way to prevent the body from recognizing and destroying them before they deliver their drug payloads.

 

"Our goal was to make a particle that is camouflaged within our bodies and escapes the surveillance of the immune system to reach its target undiscovered," said Department of Medicine Co-Chair Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator. "We accomplished this with the lipids and proteins present on the membrane of the very same cells of the immune system. We transferred the cell membranes to the surfaces of the particles and the result is that the body now recognizes these particles as its own and does not readily remove them."

 

Nanoparticles can deliver different types of drugs to specific cell types, for example, chemotherapy to cancer cells. But for all the benefits they offer and to get to where they need to go and deliver the needed drug, nanoparticles must somehow evade the body's immune system that recognizes them as intruders. The ability of the body's defenses to destroy nanoparticles is a major barrier to the use of nanotechnology in medicine. Systemically administered nanoparticles are captured and removed from the body within few minutes. With the membrane coating, they can survive for hours unharmed.

 

"Our cloaking strategy prevents the binding of opsonins—signaling proteins that activate the immune system," Tasciotti said. "We compared the absorption of proteins onto the surface of uncoated and coated particles to see how the particles might evade the immune system response."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Newfound gene may help bacteria survive in extreme environments

Newfound gene may help bacteria survive in extreme environments | Biomolecules | Scoop.it

In the days following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, methane-eating bacteria bloomed in the Gulf of Mexico, feasting on the methane that gushed, along with oil, from the damaged well. The sudden influx of microbes was a scientific curiosity: Prior to the oil spill, scientists had observed relatively few signs of methane-eating microbes in the area.

 

Now researchers at MIT have discovered a bacterial gene that may explain this sudden influx of methane-eating bacteria. This gene enables bacteria to survive in extreme, oxygen-depleted environments, lying dormant until food — such as methane from an oil spill, and the oxygen needed to metabolize it — become available. The gene codes for a protein, named HpnR, that is responsible for producing bacterial lipids known as 3-methylhopanoids. The researchers say producing these lipids may better prepare nutrient-starved microbes to make a sudden appearance in nature when conditions are favorable, such as after the Deepwater Horizon accident.

 

The lipid produced by the HpnR protein may also be used as a biomarker, or a signature in rock layers, to identify dramatic changes in oxygen levels over the course of geologic history. The microbial lipids may also be signify oxygen dips in Earth’s history. In the geologic record, many millions of years ago, we see a number of mass extinction events where there is also evidence of oxygen depletion in the ocean. It’s at these key events, and immediately afterward, where we also see increases in all these biomarkers as well as indicators of climate disturbance. It seems to be part of a syndrome of warming, ocean deoxygenation and biotic extinction. The ultimate causes are unknown.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Why Athletes Need Carbohydrates | TrainingPeaks

Why Athletes Need Carbohydrates | TrainingPeaks | Biomolecules | Scoop.it
Many endurance athletes are moving to a low or no carb diet in order to become more “fat efficient”. Does this strategy pay off or is detrimental to your performance? Read more to find out.
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