Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Enzyme

Cheaper, non-enzymatic detergents can be used with enzyme-enhanced cleaning utensils for g...

Enzymes are catalysts that boost chemical reactions by lowering the activation energy required for the reactions to occur. Added to detergents, they help break down the dirt into smaller pieces that can be more easily removed with water. While enzymatic detergents do work better than non-enzymatic ones, they are also more expensive. But what if the enzymes could be reused? A recent study by C.S. Pundir and Nidhi Chauhan, members of The American Chemical Society, may lead to cheaper laundry days and less in the way of valuable enzymes going down the drain.  Read More

The MinION is the size of a USB memory stick, and obtains both power and computer analysis...

At the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology 2012 conference (AGBT), Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. announced it is entering the gene-sequencing battle with a disposable DNA sequencer that will sell for under $900 in the second half of 2012. The USB-size sequencer is called the MinION (min-ion), and has already demonstrated the potential to bring genome sequencing and personalized medicine out of the lab and into physicians’ offices.  Read More

Unlocking the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme endomannosidase could lead to new ...

Viruses can enter the body via a number of pathways and while scientists have known how to block the main one used by viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis C, Dengue Fever and West Nile virus for some time, these viruses are able to bypass this main pathway to replicate and cause disease via a second pathway by hijacking an enzyme known as endomannosidase. Now an international team of researchers has determined the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme endomannosidase, opening the door for new treatments to a variety of deadly viruses through the development of inhibitors that block this bypass route.  Read More

Restricting calorie intake has been shown to delay the aging process and the enzyme Prx1 h...

Studies have shown that restricting the intake of calories without reducing the intake of vitamins and minerals slows the signs of aging in a wide range of animals including monkeys, rats and fish, and even some fungi. More recent studies provide evidence that calorie restriction can also have the same effect on humans and now researchers at the University of Gothenburg have identified one of the enzymes they claim plays a major role in the aging process.  Read More

Players of the online game Foldit have helped determine the structure of an enzyme, which ...

It was a puzzle that had thwarted scientists for almost a decade, but a collection of gamers was able to solve it in just three weeks. What the scientists wanted to know was the structure of retroviral proteases, a class of enzymes that play a key part in the maturation and proliferation of the AIDS virus. The mystery was crowd-sourced to the gaming community within an existing online game known as Foldit, by researchers from the University of Washington. The game challenges players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules.  Read More

A new understanding of the workings of a DNA-repairing enzyme could lead to medications th...

While there may be medications that help soothe sunburnt skin, when it comes to healing that skin ... well, we pretty much have to just wait for our bodies to do that on their own. Recent research conducted at Ohio State University, however, suggests that an actual healing treatment for sunburn may be on the way. It all comes down to some new understandings about an enzyme named photolyase.  Read More

A neuron in a rat brain's cortex over-expressing PKMzeta shown in blue (Image: Todd Sackto...

If you’re struggling to remember the names of classmates from high school, or just can’t forget that time you made a complete ass of yourself in front of your high school crush, then a single molecule known as PKMzeta could be to blame – and increasing or decreasing its activity in the brain could either help you remember those names that seem on the tip of your tongue or drive that embarrassing memory from your head. In a new study, researchers have demonstrated that a memory in rats can either be enhanced or erased long after it is formed by manipulating the activity of the brain enzyme PKMzeta.  Read More

The enzyme that allows fireflies to glow could be used to monitor the effectiveness of an ...

Millions of people around the world are medicated with heparin, a blood thinner used for the treatment and prevention of blood clots. One of the ways in which doctors monitor the effectiveness of heparin is to look for a blood protein known as factor Xa in a patient’s bloodstream – the less factor Xa activity that is occurring, the better. Now, thanks to an enzyme obtained from fireflies, that protein may be easier than ever to detect.  Read More

Scientists have used Salmonella bacteria (pictured) to eliminate viruses in mice (Photo: V...

Generally speaking, it is inadvisable to eat foods containing Salmonella bacteria – especially if you’re not a fan of diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps. In the future, however, we might be swallowing genetically-engineered versions of the little guys as a way of treating viral infections. If we do, it will be thanks to research presently being carried out at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Scientists there have reprogrammed Salmonella bacteria to act as harmless transporters of virus-stopping enzymes.  Read More

Diagram of a mitochondrion, like those used in the mitochondria biofuel cell

In Back to the Future, the Mr. Fusion cold fusion device could produce electricity from food scraps. Well, cold fusion is still some ways off (depending on who you talk to), but powering electronics with food may not be. Shelley Minteer, a Professor of Chemistry at Saint Louis University in Missouri, announced this Wednesday the development of a biofuel cell that could be powered by sugars or fats like those found in soda pop or vegetable oil. The device incorporates mitochondria, which are found within the cells of our own bodies, where they serve to produce energy from ingested calories. Are you listening, Doc Brown?  Read More

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