Fascinated by the efficient way the human immune system generates a rapid response to create a near-infinite variety of antibodies, researchers have "hijacked" that machinery and used it to evolve a new type of fluorescent protein.
The mutation process, called somatic hypermutation (SHM), normally acts on immunoglobulin genes, producing a large array of antibodies necessary to attack microbes and other foreign substances that the immune system may never have encountered before. The researchers said their demonstration that SHM can be widely adaptable for research use opens the way for enormously faster mutation of genes to produce proteins with useful new properties, including research tools and disease therapeutics.
For example, the researchers used SHM to evolve a red fluorescent protein - which is used to track molecules inside cells - with improved stability and color emission properties beyond that which the researchers could create on their own. The properties of the new fluorescent protein, made by a mutant gene called mPlum, will make it a useful indicator of gene activity or protein trafficking when mPlum is attached to a specific gene in a living cell, they said.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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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