A new system for naming ribosomal proteins

Anders Liljas1, Peter Moore2 and Marat Yusupov3biography

1Lund University, Lund, Sweden
2 Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
3University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

Following on from our previous article on the Nomenaclature for Ribosomal Proteins we are pleased to announce that we have recently published an article in Current Opinion in Structural Biology with A new system for naming ribosomal proteins.

The new system is the result of feedback from many scientists in the field, who responded on this blog.

A big thank you to all who contributed, and for the effective way consensus was reached.

Anders Liljas, Peter Moore and Marat Yusupov

The full article “A new system for naming ribosomal proteins” is freely accessible.

The Persistent Plausibility of Protein Synthesis in the Nucleus:
Process, Palimpsest or Pitfall?

Thoru Pedersonbiography

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (MA) – US

The now-widely accepted endosymbiotic hypothesis, which proposes that chloroplasts and mitochondria originated from incorporated single-cell organisms, was a milestone in the modern era of biology (1).  The proponent of this revolutionary idea subsequently posited that the nucleus (as well as the basal bodies that organize cilia) also had an endosymbiotic origin.  If this “karyomastigont” or other hypotheses for the origin of the nucleus are correct, the incoming organism would have arrived with complete translation equipment and there is no obvious reason to think this machinery would not have been subject to positive selection. Continue reading

Could a pluripotent stem cell give rise to a high yield of a single cell lineage: a myocardial cell?

Michel Pucéat1 biography

1ISERM, France

The limited potential of regeneration of the myocardium calls for de novo sources of cells to limit the loss of contractility occurring in cardiovascular degenerative diseases. Human cardiac cells derived from pluripotent stem cells have emerged as an attractive cell source for heart repair. These cells could also be used as human cellular models for drug screening or cardiac toxicology. However, the process of differentiation of human cells toward any lineage including myocardial first and second lineages which contribute to the left or the right ventricle as well as to atria, respectively [1] is truly challenging. Continue reading

Issues in Clinical trials in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Senaka Pilapitiya1 and Sisira Siribaddana1    –  

1Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

Ayurveda is a system of complementary and alternative medicine which originated more than 3500 years ago and is practiced widely in India and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, CAM medicine is dominated by practitioners who practice both Ayurveda and Deshiya Chikithsa; an indigenous system of medicine unique to Sri Lanka [7]

Contrary to the common belief that its pharmacopeia was developed by trial and error over a period of time, Ayurveda is based on a sound philosophical and logical basis. Continue reading

Implications of protein fold switching

Philip N. Bryan1,,2 and John Orban1,,3biography

1Inst. for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research
2Dept. of Bioengineering
3Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Maryland

While most globular proteins populate relatively homogeneous conformational ensembles under physiological conditions, significant exceptions continue to emerge. Many biological processes involve extensive re-modeling of protein conformation, including switches from disordered to ordered states. Some natural proteins can even undergo large-scale transitions from one ordered state to another involving major shifts in secondary structure, repacking of the protein core, and exposure of new surfaces. Such “metamorphic” proteins [1] are capable of performing alternative functions triggered by binding interactions that stabilize latent conformational states [2, 3]. Continue reading

Micrornas and targeted therapy: Small molecules of unlimited potentials

Matteo Fassan1 and Raffaele Baffa2biography

1University of Verona, Verona – Italy
2Sanofi, Cambridge (MA) – USA

The genesis of the current non-coding RNAs’ scientific paradigm can easily be traced to the seminal discovery of a microRNA (miRNA or miR) gene in 1993 [1]. At that time, no one could have predicted that the discovery of these endogenous small non-coding molecules in Caenorhabditis elegans would have such a profound effect on future research on cancer biology and therapy. Following the original observation, miRNAs were completely overlooked for nearly a decade, becoming culturally relevant only in the first years of the 21st century, when a link between miRNAs’ dysregulation and human cancer (i.e., miR-15a and miR-16-1 genes) was reported for the first time to be involved in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia [2]. Continue reading

Parental contributions to the transcriptome of early plant embryos

Célia Baroux1*, Daphné Autran2 Michael T. Raissig1, Daniel Grimanelli2 and Ueli Grossniklaus1Biography

1Institute of Plant Biology & Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zürich, Switzerland
2Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR232; CNRS, ERL5300; Université de Montpellier II, France

In plants and animals, embryo development becomes ultimately controlled by zygotic genes, but the timing of zygotic genome activation (ZGA) varies greatly between organisms[1,2]. We recently showed that the transcriptome of young Arabidopsis embryos is dominated by maternal transcripts with a progressive ZGA under the maternal control of epigenetic pathways [3]. In contrast, another study reported that both parental genomes contribute equally to the transcriptome of young embryos, suggesting that ZGA occurs immediately after fertilization[4]. How to explain such dramatic differences? Continue reading

Bioremediation of Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewaters

Lawrence P. Wackett1,,2 and Alptekin Aksan2 ,3biography

1University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Biophysics
BioTechnology Institute
3Department of Mechanical Engineering

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial process developed for releasing natural gas or petroleum from tight shale formations. The process has opened up large, previously unavailable sources of hydrocarbons for use as fuels and chemical feedstocks. Hydraulic fracturing has been criticized as postponing a shift from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable biofuels. However, it is questionable that biomass-derived liquid fuels will be sufficient to replace liquid fuels (1). In that context, we feel that hydraulic fracturing to recover abundant oil and gas from shale resources will help meet society’s fuel needs in the short-term. Continue reading

Tumour prevention and tumour progression: a dual role for statins?

Simona Romano1 and Maria Fiammetta Romano – biography
1 Federico II University of Naples, Italy

The use of statins is essential for the treatment of hyperlipidemia as well as for the primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease and strokes. Statins decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). HMGCR in turn catalyses the conversion of HMG-CoA into mevalonic acid, an important intermediate metabolite in hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis. Continue reading

Does the nucleosome break its own rules?

Curt Alexander Davey biography
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Chromatin organization underlies genomic function, and DNA sequence contributes to nucleosome stability and positioning.  A new study based on chemical footprinting to give the first genome-wide base-pair-resolution map of nucleosome positions showed that the A|T versus G|C preference associated with minor versus major groove-inward orientation is much more pronounced than was evident before from micrococcal nuclease digestion analysis [1].  Thus the contribution of DNA sequence to chromatin structure has been underestimated, but the overall pattern is nonetheless consistent with a passive form of sequence-selectivity, whereby the histones indirectly readout the DNA sequence through systematic wrapping of a double helix with sequence-dependent structure and flexibility. Continue reading