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Conditional control of fluorescent protein degradation by auxin nanobody

Penelitian - The research groups led by Jörg Mansfeld of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and Caren Norden of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) have developed a novel synthetic antibody that paves the way for an improved functional analysis of proteins.

They combined auxin-inducible "protein knockdown" with a synthetic antibody to not only observe fluorescent proteins in living cells but also to rapidly remove them in a temporally controlled manner.

Perhaps the most important basic component of all cells are proteins that perform a wide variety of functions in cells and tissues. In order to clarify the physiological roles of proteins, they are often linked to a green fluorescent protein (GFP) via targeted genetic manipulation, which makes them visible under the microscope.

The observation of such GFP-linked proteins in living cells allows initial conclusions about the function of the protein. However, the exact func…
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Dynamic density shaping of photokinetic Escherichia coli

Penelitian - Scientists have used light patterns to control the swimming speed of bacteria and direct them to form different shapes. Controlling bacteria in this way means it could be possible to use them as microbricks for building the next generation of microscopic devices.

For example, they could be made to surround a larger object such as a machine part or a drug carrier, and then used as living propellers to transport it where it is needed. Escherichia coli bacteria are known to be fantastic swimmers. They can move a distance of ten times their length in a second. They have propellers that are powered by a motor, and they usually recharge this motor by a process that needs oxygen.

Recently, scientists found a protein (proteorhodopsin) in ocean-dwelling bacteria that allows them to power their propellers using light. By engineering other types of bacteria to have this protein, it is possible to place a 'solar panel' on every bacterial cell and control its swimming speed re…

Itch suppression in mice and dogs by modulation α2 and α3GABAA

Penelitian - Two receptors in the spinal cord and the right experimental drug: Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered a new approach that suppresses itch. In a series of experiments in mice and dogs they successfully alleviated different forms of acute as well as chronic itch. For the latter, current treatment options are very limited.

Everybody knows the unpleasant itching sensation after being bitten by a mosquito. Luckily, this kind of itch can be relieved by a number of drugs that are available on the market. These drugs, however, are largely ineffective when it comes to the unrelenting and debilitating urge to scratch experienced by patients suffering from skin, kidney or liver diseases.

This chronic condition, which affects about 10 percent of the population, is currently treated with antidepressants or immune suppressants. Originally developed to treat other diseases, these drugs often fail to provide the desired relief or come with severe side effects.

Hanns U…

Long-term ecology of investors in financial market

Penelitian - Researchers from the University of Turku and University of Palermo studied the ecology of investors in the financial market. The ecology of investors is a well-known concept that has mainly been used in the modelling or simulation of financial markets.

The Finnish-Italian research group studied the ecology of investors on a more extensive scale using data from actual markets. The research results were published in the Palgrave Communications journal.

"Traditionally it has been thought that the stock market is efficient and the investors are completely rational and process all the available information quickly. However, many external incentives and internal factors can influence people's behaviour and decision-making ability -- also in the stock market," explains Jyrki Piilo of the University of Turku.

"When studying financial markets, the adaptive market hypothesis has in the last 10-15 years risen as an alternative to the efficient market hypothesis. A…

Light in liquid-crystalline polymers with photoswitchable glass transition

Penelitian - Energy conversion of light into mechanical work is of fundamental interest in applications. In particular, diligent molecular design on nanoscale, in order to achieve efficient photomechanical effects on macroscopic scale, has become one of the most interesting study topics.

Researchers reported by incorporating a “photomelting” azobenzene monomer crosslinked into liquid crystalline (LC) networks, generate photoresponsive polymer films that exhibit reversible photoswitchable glass transition temperatures (Tg) at room temperature (~20C) and photomechanical actuations under the stimulus of UV/visible light.

The trans-to-cis isomerization of azo chromophores results in a change in Tg of the crosslinked LC polymers. The Tg of the polymer network is higher than room temperature in the trans-form and lower than room temperature in the cis-form. The team reported to Nature Communications.

“We demonstrate the photoswitchable Tg contribute to the photomechanical bending and a new …

Artificial placenta created in lab

Penelitian - The placenta has an essential and highly complex task: it must ensure the exchange of important substances between the mother and her unborn child, whilst simultaneously blocking other substances from passing through.

Until now, it has not been fully understood what the permeability of the placenta depends on, after all, it is incredibly difficult to investigate its function in humans directly. TU Wien (Vienna) has now produced an artificial placenta model that very closely resembles the natural organ.

Using a specially developed femtosecond laser-based 3D printing process, it is possible to produce customized hydrogel membranes directly within microfluidic chips, which are then populated with placenta cells. This means it is now possible to provide clarity in some vital research issues, such as the exchange of glucose between mother and child.

"The transport of substances through biological membranes plays an important role in various areas of medicine. These includ…