- Lack of plant diversity spurs cankerworm damage in cities
- Rapid evolution aids spread of exotic plant species
- Nature inspires drones of the future
- Body clock and its biological impact: Fruit fly research to provide new insight
- Bacterial adaptation contributes to pneumococcal threat in sickle cell disease patients
- Protein that may lead to malaria vaccine discovered
- Cell migration and the mysterious role of cadherin
- Cells: RaDAR guides proteins into the nucleus
- Genes discovered linking circadian clock with eating schedule
- Molecule acts as umpire to make tough life-or-death calls
Posted: 23 May 2014 06:43 AM PDT
A lack of plant diversity is a key contributor to the widespread defoliation caused by cankerworms in cities, which highlights the role that increasing diversity can play in limiting future damage. Fall cankerworms (Alsophila pometaria) are caterpillars that are native to the eastern United States and hatch in early spring. The cankerworms defoliate trees and other plants, eating new leaves as they emerge -- which is both unsightly and can ultimately kill the plants.
Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT
The first genetic evidence that rapid evolution can help non-native plant species spread in new environments has been presented by a team of biologists. Using samples of centuries-old herbaria and DNA analysis, the researchers reconstructed the genetic adaptations undergone by the Pyrenean rocket prior to its rapid spread in Belgium.
Posted: 23 May 2014 06:42 AM PDT
Researchers have been taking tips from nature to build the next generation of flying robots. Based on the mechanisms adopted by birds, bats, insects and snakes, scientists have developed solutions to some of the common problems that drones could be faced with when navigating through an urban environment and performing novel tasks for the benefit of society.
Posted: 23 May 2014 06:41 AM PDT
How animals keep time through their internal circadian rhythms could help us understand why we sleep and how we cope with jet lag. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model, researchers have discovered that the molecular and cellular 'clock' mechanisms of insects closely resemble those of mammals, including humans. As these biological clock systems not only control sleep, but also influence functions such as blood pressure and metabolic rate, they could give us greater insight into many medical conditions.
Posted: 23 May 2014 05:25 AM PDT
Differences in the genetic code of pneumococcal bacteria have been identified by researcher that may explain why it poses such a risk to children with sickle cell disease and why current vaccines don't provide better protection against the infection. The findings will aid efforts to improve vaccine effectiveness and inform research into new ways to protect young sickle cell disease patients from life-threatening pneumococcal infections that can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections and other problems.
Posted: 22 May 2014 11:14 AM PDT
A protein that is essential for malaria-causing parasites to escape from inside red blood cells has been discovered by scientists. This protein could lead to the development of a vaccine that would prevent the progression of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which kills one child every 15 seconds each year in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to new research.
Posted: 22 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT
Fruit-fly ovaries were used in a new study to uncover how E-cadherin guides collective cell migration. According to traditional scientific dogma, E-cadherin acts like the mortar between bricks, holding cells together and preventing motility. This research team found the opposite: Cadherin is actually promoting the ability of cells to move and migrate. "It's doing it in three different ways in three different parts of the cell," the lead investigator said. "In each spot in the cell, cadherin is doing something different and all of those function together to orchestrate the movement of cells."
Posted: 22 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT
A novel pathway by which proteins are actively and specifically shuttled into the nucleus of a cell has been discovered by scientists. The finding captures a precise molecular barcode that flags proteins for such import and describes the biochemical interaction that drives this critically important process. The discovery could help illuminate the molecular dysfunction that underpins a broad array of ailments, ranging from autoimmune diseases to cancers.
Posted: 22 May 2014 09:33 AM PDT
For most people, the urge to eat a meal or snack comes at a few, predictable times during the waking part of the day. But for those with a rare syndrome, hunger comes at unwanted hours, interrupts sleep and causes overeating. "We really never expected that we would be able to decouple the sleep-wake cycle and the eating cycle," says the senior study author. "It opens up a whole lot of future questions about how these cycles are regulated."
Posted: 22 May 2014 07:47 AM PDT
An enzyme required for animal survival after birth functions like an umpire, making the tough calls required for a balanced response to signals that determine if cells live or die, researchers have discovered. The finding has established RIPK1's premier role in cell survival as inhibition of apoptosis and necroptosis. The results also demonstrated that other pathways must exist in cells to maintain a balanced response to signals pushing for cell death via apoptosis or necroptosis.
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