AMPK is normally a tumour suppressor. But once cancer arises, AMPK becomes a tumour promoter, enhancing the survival of cancer cells. Understanding this could help create drugs that inhibit AMPK.
Spider glue is actually a specialized silk protein.
The glue that gives spider webs their stickiness is a form of spider silk protein. Researchers can imagine cool uses for a synthetic version – but had to wait for the tricky glue gene to be sequenced.
A 3D rendering of an orange carotenoid protein, whose secrets are slowly being unlocked.
When two proteins interact with each other they behave in their own molecular lives.
UGREEN 3S/ Shutterstock
The unique way that human proteins change after they are copied from our DNA gives scientists clues about what causes human disease.
Understanding how certain proteins deal with light absorption can inspire modern solar technology.
Proteins guard their secrets closely, but once you get them to "sing", there's an enormous amount to learn.
Watching bacteria and viruses duke it out, evolving to outwit each other.
UC San Diego
A core idea in molecular biology is that one gene codes for one protein. Now biologists have found an example of a gene that yields two forms of a protein – enabling it to evolve new functionality.
Spider silk is a bit like a cross between steel and rubber.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Some spiders produce silk than can actually be stronger than steel and 50 times as light.
Moving a robot is like manipulating a molecule.
Researchers use an algorithm designed to help robots move to figure out what's possible when designing new molecules in a promising class of pharmaceuticals.
Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy.
Invitation image created by Kstudio
One big challenge for gene therapies is delivering DNA or RNA safely to cells inside patients' bodies. New nanoparticles could be an improvement over the current standard – repurposed viruses.
What can mating yeast tell us about new drugs?
By exploiting the way yeast cells mate, researchers have figured out a quicker, easier way to identify on- and off-target drug interactions.
Cryo-electron microscopy resolution continues to improve.
Veronica Falconieri, Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
The 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to three scientists who revolutionized biochemistry by inventing a technology that can image the molecules of life without destroying them.
Plants make proteins based on whatever genetic material you give them.
Carl Davies, CSIRO
Inserting a random DNA mishmash into a plant or bacterium directs it to make a novel protein. Sifting through the resulting molecules, researchers may find ones have medical or agricultural uses.
General anesthetics affect cellular proteins to knock us out. Some do so better than others, especially the noble gas Xenon.
How do anesthetics work, and what makes for an ideal anesthetic? It's not as mysterious as once believed, and there's a gas that ticks all the boxes for a perfect anesthetic: xenon.
The cells inside this bioreactor are the real pharmaceutical factories.
Rather than being designed by chemists, this class of pharmaceuticals is produced by living cells. Here's where they come from and how they work.
A collage of biological data visualisations.
Image from C. Stolte, B.F. Baldi, S.I. O'Donoghue, C. Hammang, D.K.G. Ma, and G.T. Johnson
The daunting complexity of biological data requires tailored visualisation tools to reveal buried insights.
Computers may play an important role in preparing us for the next viral outbreak – whether flu or Ebola.
UW Institute for Protein Design
This antivirus software protects health, not computers. Researchers are beginning to combat deadly infections using computer-generated antiviral proteins – a valuable tool to fight a future pandemic.
It’s the chemistry that makes it taste so great.
The same chemical reaction is behind the frothing of milk in your cappuccino and the whipping of egg whites in sweet meringue.
The only treatment for coeliac disease is the strict, life-long avoidance of foods containing gluten.
Recent headlines proclaimed an Australian-developed pill might be able to help those with coeliac disease eat wheat without becoming ill. But the fine print says it's no treatment or cure.
Too good to be true? Time to hair the evidence!
Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL
Move over, DNA profilers. Scientists are developing a potentially more powerful technique to identify criminals from their hair.
Complex but mighty useful.
Scientists and engineers have looked to nature for their inspiration for centuries. The field of biomimetics uses ideas from nature to solve complex human challenges. Synthetic biology, a more recent concept…