Ancient proteins help track early milk drinking in Africa

IMAGE: Cattle grazing in Entesekara in Kenya near the Tanzanian border view more  Credit: A. Janzen Tracking milk drinking in the ancient past is not straightforward. For decades, archaeologists have tried to reconstruct the practice by various indirect methods. They have looked at ancient rock art to identify scenes of animals being milked and at animal […]

Proteins unspool DNA so cells can take on unique properties

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Biologists have long wondered how complex organisms contain a variety of dramatically different types of cells with specialized functions, even though all of those cells are genetically identical. New research reveals how proteins, called pioneer transcription factors, help turn on key genes that give cell types their unique properties and functions. […]

High-speed atomic force microscopy takes on intrinsically disordered proteins

Structural and dynamic features of three IDPs (NTAIL, PNT and Sic1) revealed by HS-AFM imaging.The top and bottom panels correspond to the more-ordered and less ordered states, respectively. The numbers in red and blue represent the numbers of amino acids contained in the respective folded regions and fully disordered regions, respectively. The red and blue […]

High-speed atomic force microscopy takes on intrinsically disordered proteins

IMAGE: Structural and dynamic features of three IDPs (NTAIL, PNT and Sic1) revealed by HS-AFM imaging. The top and bottom panels correspond to the more-ordered and less ordered states, respectively. The numbers… view more  Credit: Kanazawa University Our understanding of biological proteins does not always correlate with how common or important they are. Half of all […]

These Arctic squirrels recycle muscle proteins to survive winter

Arctic ground squirrels can survive harsh winters with below-freezing temps by holing up for some eight months without eating. These hibernators “live at the most extreme edge of existence, just barely hovering over death, and we don’t fully understand how this works,” says Sarah Rice, a biochemist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. By snooping […]

How does pathogen sense environment? Scientists identify key proteins’ structures

In order to adapt to the changing environment, bacteria must quickly transform extracellular information into appropriate intracellular reactions. Two component system (TCS) is the main signal transduction protein in prokaryotic cells to transform environmental stimuli into cellular responses. HptRSA is a newly discovered TCS, which is composed of glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) related sensor protein HptA, transmembrane […]

How proteins find their place in the cell

Structure of the GET insertion machine (Get1 in blue, Get2 in orange and Get3 in light blue). A representative cryo-EM image of the complex is shown in the background. Credit: McDowell and Sinning (2020) Over a quarter of all proteins in a cell are found in the membrane, where they perform vital functions. To fulfill […]

Illuminating tiny proteins in living cells using single-residue labeling tags

IMAGE: Universal single-residue terminal labels for fluorescent live cell Imaging of microproteins view more  Credit: Simon Elsasser Thirty years ago, the cloning of the green fluorescent protein GFP, together with genetic engineering tools, revolutionized biology by enabling researchers to fuse a fluorescent ‘beacon’ to any protein of interest so that it can be directly observed in […]

Illuminating tiny proteins in living cells using single-residue labeling tags

Universal single-residue terminal labels for fluorescent live cell Imaging of microproteins. Credit: Simon Elsasser SciLifeLab Fellow Simon Elsässer laboratory at Karolinska Institutet reports a method, which allows fluorescent tagging of proteins with the small perturbation—a single amino acid—added genetically on either end of a (micro)protein of interest. The method is termed Single-residue Terminal Labeling (STELLA). […]