Magic number colloidal clusters

Complexity in nature, whether in chlorophyll or in living organisms, often results from self-assembly and is considered particularly robust. Compact clusters of elemental particles can be shown to be of practical relevance, and are found in atomic nuclei, nano particles or viruses. An interdisciplinary team of researchers led by professors Nicolas Vogel and Michael Engel at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have decoded the structure and the process behind the formation of one class of such highly ordered clusters. Their findings have increased understanding of how structures are formed in clusters and have now been published in the journal Nature Communications. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Bacterial control mechanism for adjusting to changing conditions: How do bacteria adapt?

A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have now determined that the regulation mechanisms used by bacteria to adapt to different environments are based on a global control process that can be described in a single equation. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

“Plant cinema” shows the flow of energy

Nothing works without fuel: plants also depend on fuel for growth and development. In living organisms, fuel comes as the universal energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP). An international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn shows how ATP behaves in the different parts of living seedlings and the impact of stress on their fuel status. The results could inform breeding of more resistant crop varieties. This “plant cinema in real time” is now presented by the journal eLIFE. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Developmental Leaps on the Way to Becoming a Plant

German-Israeli research team under the leadership of Kiel University discovers evolutionary origin of redox regulation in plants

During the development of higher life forms over the course of millions of years, there have always been significant and comparatively sudden leaps in development. As a consequence, living organisms developed new skills and conquered additional habitats. In this process they adopted these abilities partly from their predecessor organisms: For example the plastids of the plants, the place where photosynthesis takes place, were originally autonomous unicellular living organisms. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

When Air is in Short Supply – Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

Like all living organisms, plants need oxygen to survive. The threat of being cut off from the air supply (hypoxia) looms large for plants in times of flood. Plants react to the threat by activating a specific survival program. For quite some time, scientists are familiar with the molecular mechanism of this stress program for animals and bacteria. However, the elucidation of plant reactions to hypoxia confounded scientists. At the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle and at the University of Oxford, experimental research provided the answers that closed the gaps in the existing hypotheses. In a paper published by Nature Communications, they share their results with us. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Phenotype at the push of a button

Scientists at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle have developed a method that makes it possible to accumulate or break down chosen proteins in living organisms as needed. In order to accomplish this, researchers around Dr. Nico Dissmeyer together with scientists from Cologne and Zurich have developed a molecular switch that can be activated by temperature changes. This switch enables plants to produce the desired protein in large quantities at low ambient temperatures. On the other hand, the protein is completely broken down within a few hours after a moderate temperature increase. Now the method has been published in Nature Communications magazine. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

New nanotechnology detects biomarkers of cancer

Researchers have developed a new technology to detect disease biomarkers in the form of nucleic acids, the building blocks of all living organisms. (Mehr in: Cancer News — ScienceDaily)

New nanotechnology detects biomarkers of cancer

Researchers have developed a new technology to detect disease biomarkers in the form of nucleic acids, the building blocks of all living organisms. (Mehr in: Cancer News — ScienceDaily)

A new role for vitamin B6 in plants

Vitamin B6, which exists in different natural forms called vitamers, is essential for all living organisms, as it participates in numerous aspects of cells’ everyday life. Researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and collaborators have discovered an unexpected role for this micronutrient, in relation to nitrogen metabolism. Described in the journal The Plant Cell, the results indicate that one of the vitamers informs the plant of its content in ammonium, a basic nitrogen compound needed e.g. for the biosynthesis of proteins. In the future, vitamin B6 could be used to ascertain the nitrogen status of plants and eventually prevent the overuse of nitrogen-containing fertilizers. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Learning from Nature: Genomic database standard alleviates search for novel antibiotics

Penicillin, an antibiotic discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, is well known. While Fleming noticed the effect of this compound by pure chance, nowadays the quest for novel agents relies on systematic research. Meanwhile scientists identified many more secondary metabolites like Erythromycin, an antibacterial drug. The enormous relevance of these natural products in medicine, agriculture and biotechnology is without any doubt.Many living organisms like plants, fungi and bacteria produce these small exotic molecules in several steps of synthesis, and researchers use computer-based methods for novel compounds and consider their potential use. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

New details of the transmission of stimuli in living organisms unveiled

Researchers unveil new details of how cells in a living organism process stimuli. So-called G-proteins, which help conduct external stimuli that reach a cell into its interior, play a central role here. For the first time, the study shows which parts of the G-proteins are vital for their function. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, ETH Zurich, the pharmaceutical company Roche and the British MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology report their results in the journals Nature and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Treating ships’ ballast water: filtration preferable to disinfection

Neuherberg, July 30, 2015. Untreated ballast water discharge from ships can spread living organisms and even pathogens across the world thereby introducing non-native or invasive species into the local environment. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München therefore recommend using physical treatment processes such as filtration rather than electrochemical disinfection, which creates countless potentially toxic compounds. These are the findings of a recent study published in the journal ‘Environmental Science and Technology’. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Small signaling molecule gives green light for cell division

Generating offspring is the evolutionary goal of all living organisms. The multiplication of individual cells is coordinated by the cell cycle. For the discovery of how this process is regulated in eukaryotes the Noble Prize was awarded in 2001. The team of Prof. Urs Jenal at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now identified the central switch for reproduction in bacteria. While cell cycle progression in eukaryotes is regulated by small proteins called cyclins, in bacteria this role is adopted by a small signaling molecule, c-di-GMP. In the current issue of «Nature» the scientists describe the molecular details of this process. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)

Skeleton of cells controls cell multiplication

A research team has discovered that the cell’s skeleton can trigger the multiplication of cells through the action of proteins that control cellular rigidity. During this process genes that promote cancer – oncogenes – become activated, leading to tumor formation in living organisms. (Mehr in: Cancer News — ScienceDaily)

Implications of quantum metabolism and natural selection for the origin of cancer cells and tumor progression

Energy transfer in material solids is driven primarily by differences in intensive thermodynamic quantities such as pressure and temperature. The crucial observation  in quantum-theoretical models was the consideration of the heat capacity as associated with the vibrations of atoms in a crystalline solid. However, living organisms are essentially isothermal. Because of very little differences in temperature between different parts of a cell it is assumed that energy flow in living organisms is mediated by differences in the turnover time of various metabolic processes in the cell, which occur in cyclical fashion. It has been shown that the cycle time of these metabolic processes is related to the metabolic rate, that is the rate at which the organism transforms the free energy of whatever source into metabolic work, maintenance of constant temperature and structuraland functional organization of the cells. Quantum Metabolism exploits the methodology of the quantum theory of solids to provide a molecular level which derives new rules relating metabolic rate and body size.

Davies P, Lloyd A, Demetrius LA, Tuszynski, JA (2012) Implications of quantum metabolism and natural selection for the origin of cancer cells and tumor progression. Citation: AIP Advances 2, 011101 (2012); doi: 10.1063/1.3697850

Einstein A (1920), Schallausbreitung in teilweise dissozieirten Gasen

Einstein A (1924) Quantentheorie des einatomigen, idealen Gases