In this issue of Chemistry & Biology, Lazar and colleagues report an unexpected finding about pheromone transport in the Asian elephant, an endangered species of which only a few thousand individuals remain.
Female elephants communicate their readiness to mate by excreting a sex pheromone in their urine. Male elephants exhibit a range of responses to this pheromone, beginning with sniffing and "check and place" responses, where the male touches his trunk tip to the pheromone-loaded urine. Next, the male places the pheromone urine in his mouth, in a behavior known as flehmen, after which mating behavior typically ensues. The sex pheromone therefore has to travel through and survive a number of different environments, from serum to urine to mucus, for successful mating to occur. The authors have discovered that serum albumin, a ubiquitous vertebrate protein, plays an unexpected and multifaceted role as a shuttle that both protects and transports the pheromone. The authors reveal that elephant serum albumin (ESA) transports the pheromone from serum to urine and it extends the period of time that the pheromone remains available for detection in the environment, without actually masking the pheromone and hampering detection. Dissociation of the pheromone-ESA complex is induced by the low pH environment of the male elephant truck and enhances detection by producing a pulse of the volatile pheromone as the male elephant performs the characteristic flehmen behavior.
Use of albumin in urinary pheromone transport is distinct from other mammalian pheromone transport systems studied so far. Furthermore, the exploitation of albumin in pheromone transport complements the particular lifestyle of Asian elephants by reflecting the uniqueness of elephant anatomy, physiology, and behavior.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences