Biology

News

28 Feb 2023
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Nano Letters the discovery of a biomolecular dynamical process likely relevant to gene expression. The process, revealed by means of high-speed atomic force microscopy, involves DNA and its packaging molecules.
 Photograph of the semitransparent hydrogel used in this study. (Satoshi Tanikawa, et al. Scientific Reports. February 14, 2023)
24 Feb 2023
Synthetic hydrogels were shown to provide an effective scaffold for neuronal tissue growth in areas of brain damage, providing a possible approach for brain tissue reconstruction.
Collecting samples at a wastewater treatment plant for the study (Photo provided by Masaaki Kitajima).
21 Feb 2023
Sifting through sewage for SARS-CoV-2 genetic material could help authorities tailor infection control policies.
17 Feb 2023
Tree rings forecast extreme weather in central Asia, Squid 🦑and chemistry make versatile hydrogels, James Webb telescope reveals the earliest galaxies & Reducing negative effects of screen time. Read all in the latest Editor's Choice. Plus our latest journalist resource "Experts for Media: Antimicrobial Resistance "🦠.
Antioxidants discovered in meat!
16 Feb 2023
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists found that 2-oxo-imidazole-containing dipeptides (2-oxo-IDPs) exhibit very high antioxidant activity. Furthermore, they established a method to selectively and sensitively detect very small amounts of 2-oxo-IDPs and revealed for the first time that several types of 2-oxo-IDPs are contained in meat, including beef, pork, and chicken.
16 Feb 2023
A new approach that ‘baits’ the caps or telomeres protecting the ends of chromosomes could provide information on how rapidly we are ageing and what we need to do to slow it down.
13 Feb 2023
Researchers from Osaka University have shown sex-specific differences in the immune response to COVID-19 infection. By identifying and analyzing the immune cell population in COVID-19 patients, they showed that infection results in a reduced ratio of circulating follicular T regulatory (cTfr) cells to a network of antibody-producing proteins, correlated with dysregulated antibody production. This cTfr cell reduction is more significant in males, providing cellular evidence for the observed association between increased risk and male sex.
12 Feb 2023
In hepatic steatosis, hepatocytes "die," resulting in liver damage. Severe steatosis increases hepatocellular deaths, thus aggravating liver damage. The mechanism is unclear. Using mice, we show that mild steatosis causes apoptosis whereas severe steatosis predominantly causes necroptosis leading to cell rupture. This induces strong inflammation and new cell death, producing further liver damage. We reveal the transcription factor ATF3 to be involved in this process. Our results are expected to contribute to therapeutic method development.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse, a fish that can recognize themself in photographs
10 Feb 2023
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists have demonstrated that fish can recognize “it’s me” when they themselves in a picture for the first time in non-human animals. Further testing made it clear that the fish recognize their own face in the pictures like humans.
06 Feb 2023
Researchers led by Osaka University used cryogenic electron microscopy to analyze the atomic structure of the centromeric region of the chromosome, essential for cell division. A protein called CENP-A marks the centromere; the researchers showed that during interphase, CENP-A is bound by a protein called KNL2 to maintain the location of the centromere. During mitosis, KNL2 is replaced by CENP-C, allowing correct formation of the kinetochore complex for cell division.
02 Feb 2023
Blocking an immune-regulating protein reverses the damage caused by acute and chronic kidney disease, a preclinical study suggests.
The fluorescent blinking of cyanine dye (Alexa Fluor 647, pink star) bound to RNA changes depending on the structure of the RNA. When the RNA is folded like a hairpin, the fluorescent blinking is fast, and when the RNA switches to a G-quadruplex, the blinking is slow (Akira Kitamura).
02 Feb 2023
A new microscopic technique allows for the real-time study of RNA G-quadruplexes in living cells, with implications for the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
31 Jan 2023
Researchers from Osaka University have shown that a system known as the GET pathway is essential for efficient mitophagy, the process by which mitochondria are removed from cells. The GET pathway targets a protein assembly called the Ppg1–Far complex, which inhibits mitophagy, to the membrane of a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum. When the GET pathway is defective, this complex instead becomes targeted to mitochondria, where it acts to suppress mitophagy.
25 Jan 2023
Researchers from Osaka University have identified a protein, FER1L5, that is essential for sperm to acquire fertilizing ability. Sperm from mice lacking this protein were unable to undergo the “acrosome reaction”, which releases molecules that facilitate fertilization, resulting in impaired male fertility. As FER1L5 is also present in human sperm, this work may lead to new diagnostic methods and treatments for male infertility in humans.
Asia Research News: Editor's choice
20 Jan 2023
Overeating mechanism: why "eating just one chip"🍟 is impossible, Measuring hidden energy of gamma-ray bursts, Marine species that can adapt to ocean acidification & A rough start can lead to a strong bond, Read all in our first Editor's Choice of 2023. Plus our interview on what dengue vaccine approval in EU💉means for global dengue protection.
The new squid/synthetic polymer double-network gel
20 Jan 2023
The natural abilities of squid tissues and the creativity of chemists combine to take hydrogel research in new directions.
Visualization of coronavirus causing Covid19
19 Jan 2023
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Nano Letters how high-speed atomic force microscopy can be used to assess the effectivity of spike-neutralizing antibodies for preventing COVID-19. The use of such antibodies offers a promising alternative to vaccines.
Red perilla cultivar Hoko-3
11 Jan 2023
A team of Japanese researchers created a high-quality genome assembly of red perilla, a step toward harnessing the plant’s potentially useful bioactive chemicals — and its medicinal properties.
Aspergillus aculeatus
10 Jan 2023
An Osaka Metropolitan University research team analyzed the regulatory mechanisms of carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzyme production in Aspergillus aculeatus, a filamentous fungus that produces enzymes with an excellent ability to degrade plant biomass. The team found that UDP-glucose 4-epimerase (Uge5), an enzyme known for its involvement in galactose metabolism, also regulates the expression of degrading enzyme genes in A. aculeatus. This is the very first report of Uge5’s roles in selective gene expression in response to different types of inducing sugars in filamentous fungi.
When the H5N1 HPAI virus (orange) affected a flock of crows in a public garden, it caused a mass die-off of crows. An Ezo red fox and a Japanese raccoon dog were also infected by the H5N1 HPAI virus, the former likely by consuming corpses of the crows, and the latter due to close contact with crow corpses (Illustration: Takahiro Hiono).
05 Jan 2023
Researchers at Hokkaido University have revealed the effects of high pathogenicity avian influenza virus infection on an Ezo red fox and a Japanese raccoon dog, linking their infection to a recorded die-off of crows.
An illustration of the facial expression changes in mice following stimulation and inhibition of the median raphe nucleus (Yu Ohmura).
28 Dec 2022
New insights into the opposing actions of serotonin-producing nerve fibres in mice could lead to drugs for treating addictions and major depression.
28 Dec 2022
Taking Hong Kong’s famous Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak offers stunning views of its central business district, Victoria Harbor, and the surrounding islands. But a team of international scientists has recently discovered that the trams winding journey provides a previously unrecognized situation where our vertical perception gets distorted.
27 Dec 2022
tRNA-MaP can rapidly analyze the specificity of tRNA m1A22 methyltransferase (TrmK) for substrate tRNAs.
Mechanism by which CREB-Regulated Transcription Coactivator 1 (CRTC1) suppresses overeating
23 Dec 2022
Scientists reveal genetic mechanism associated with high-calorie food-fueled obesity
22 Dec 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists discovered the principle of light-induced acceleration of antigen–antibody reaction, allowing for simple, ultrafast, and highly sensitive detection of proteins. The researchers introduced target proteins and probe particles with modified antibodies selectively binding to the target proteins into a small channel and applied irradiation with infrared laser light. They achieved, for the first time, the rapid measurement of trace amounts of attogram-level target proteins after only 3 minutes of laser irradiation. These findings will potentially contribute to breakthroughs in the development of systems for ultra-early diagnosis of various diseases.
The sphaerimicin analogs (SPMs) inhibit the activity of MraY, and hence the replication of bacteria, with different degrees of effectiveness. The potency of the analog increases as the IC50 decreases (Takeshi Nakaya, et al. Nature Communications. December 20, 2022).
20 Dec 2022
Researchers have designed and synthesized analogs of a new antibiotic that is effective against multidrug-resistant bacteria, opening a new front in the fight against these infections.
19 Dec 2022
Researchers from Osaka University have developed a culture system using pluripotent cells from southern and northern white rhinos, which was refined to produce primordial germ cell-like cells (PGCLCs). These cells are the equivalent of primordial germ cells, the origin of eggs and sperm. The study marks an important first step in the potential production of northern white rhino gametes, which could be used in breeding programs, and is the first to induce PGCLCs in a wild animal.
Micrometre-scale multicompartmental structures of aquabots
15 Dec 2022
A research team led by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has invented an all-water robotic system that resolves the constraints of bio-inspired robots through revolutionary scientific advances.
15 Dec 2022
Understanding how bats tolerate viral infections, Material separates water from...water, The virtual sense of touch polished to next level and COVID-19 negatively impacted early-careers and female researchers. Read all in the December's Editor's Choice.
14 Dec 2022
Using cryogenic electron microscopy, a research team from the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (ReCAP) at Osaka Metropolitan University has revealed, for the first time, the structures and binding environments of pigments bound to a protein called a photosynthetic antenna of the marine green macroalga Codium fragile. The team’s results extend our knowledge about the molecular mechanism by which blue-green light—the only light available in deep seawater—is efficiently utilized for photosynthesis.

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