Published this week on-line in PLoS Biology, Sara Sawyer, Michael Emerman, and Harmit Malik investigate the genetic roots of the battle for evolutionary advantage between HIV-type viruses and the hosts they infect. What they find is surprising.
Antiviral editing enzymes like Apobec3G have been involved in an ancient genome defense strategy in primates
The gene, APOBEC3G, belongs to a family of primate genes that produce enzymes (in this case, APOBEC3G) that "edit" DNA and RNA, by slipping into viral particles and inducing mutations that replace one base (cytosine) with another (uracil) as the virus undergoes reverse transcription in the host cells cytoplasm. The edited virus fails to replicate. HIV, in turn, generates a protein called Vif that binds to the APOBEC3G enzyme and targets it for degradation, thereby eliminating its antiviral activity.
Since the protein-binding regions that govern these interactions have a direct effect on the fitness of both virus and host, one would expect to see the proteins angling for advantage, with Vif maximizing its ability to recognize APOBEC3G and APOBEC3G doing its best to evade Vif. Such battles are thought to result in frequent mutations that alter the amino acids involved in the interaction; the perpetuation of such advantageous mutations is called positive selection.
Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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