To ignite a life-threatening infection in the body, a virus such as HIV invades body cells by first merging, or fusing, with the cells outer membrane. Once inside the cell, the invading microbes genetic material takes over, turning the host cell into a factory to produce more copies of the virus, which then spill out to invade other cells in the body.
Scientists had assumed that once a virus begins fusing with a cells membrane, infection of the host cell was inevitable. Thus, antiviral drug development has largely focused on preventing events that happen either before or after this step.
However, a multi-institutional team of researchers is reporting that it has detected an intermediate stage between the virus merger with the cell membrane and the microbes delivery of its genetic contents into the cell, when the fate of the host cell still hangs in the balance.
Cathy Yarbrough | EurekAlert!
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DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
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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.
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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...
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