The production of melanin is an important protective reaction that gives us a sunburn, for instance. In invertebrate animals it has long been observed that parasites, fungi, and other invaders become encapsulated in melanin.
In many animals this can be seen as black-brown spots on the shell that show that the animal has had an infection.
"In mosquitoes that can harbor the malaria parasite it has also been observed that the mosquito´s ability to form such melanin capsules often determines whether it will be able to spread the disease to humans," says Haipeng Liu.
On the other hand, the possible effect of melanin production on bacterial infections has been intensively debated. In the current study the scientists show, by manipulating the genetic expression of the melanin-producing enzyme, that effective melanin production is crucial to the ability of freshwater crayfish to survive an infection of an extremely dangerous bacteria for them, Aeromonas hydrophila.
"The findings indicate that we should upgrade the significance of the melanin reaction and that it may be worthwhile to search for further cases where it prevents bacterial growth," says Haipeng Liu.
Anneli Waara | alfa
Party discipline for jumping genes
22.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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