In the world of molecules, DNA tends to get top billing at the expense of RNA, which is critical for turning DNAs genetic blueprint into working proteins. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have published significant insights into how the RNA molecule completes this task in two back-to-back papers in the Feb. 13 issue of Science.
All the genetic information contained in DNA is silent, said Roger Kornberg, PhD, the Mrs. George A. Wizner Professor in Medicine and professor of structural biology. What gives it a voice is RNA polymerase, the enzyme that copies DNA into RNA through a process called transcription. Along with more than a dozen helper molecules, RNA polymerase determines which proteins are produced within a cell. But before scientists can understand the transcription process, they must first unveil the inner structure of RNA polymerase.
Kornbergs lab has been studying RNA and the enzyme that makes it for more than 20 years. Past studies from the lab have shown that the machinery of the RNA polymerase system is in three layers. Kornbergs group published groundbreaking findings in 2001 outlining the structure of the innermost layer. The two current papers focus on the middle layer, which contains many of the helper molecules.
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
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