Tag Archives: cryo electron microscopy

Tau-tally Microtubular!

Structural model of physiological tau-microtubule interactions sheds light on neurological diseases that correlate with their disruption

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley have combined cutting-edge cryo-­electron microscopy (cryo-EM) with computational molecular modeling to produce a near-atomic-resolution model of the interaction between microtubules – crucial components of eukaryotic cell ultrastructure – and microtubule-associated proteins called tau. (more…)

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UCLA nanoscientists are first to model atomic structures of three bacterial nanomachines

Cryo electron microscope enables scientists to explore the frontiers of targeted antibiotics

Researchers at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute have become the first to produce images of the atomic structures of three specific biological nanomachines, each derived from a different potentially deadly bacterium — an achievement they hope will lead to antibiotics targeted toward specific pathogens. (more…)

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Even Bacteria Use Social Networks

Berkeley Lab scientists image cell-to-cell connections between soil microbes

The next time your Facebook stream is filled with cat videos, think about Myxococcus xanthus.The single-cell soil bacterium also uses a social network. But forget silly distractions. M. xanthus relies on its connections to avoid getting eaten and to score its next meal.

That’s the latest insight from a team of Berkeley Lab scientists. Using several imaging techniques, they saw for the first time that M. xanthus cells are connected by a network of chain-like membranes. (more…)

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Reading the Human Genome

Berkeley Lab Researchers Produce First Step-by-Step Look at Transcription Initiation

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome.

“We’ve provided a series of snapshots that shows how the genome is read one gene at a time,” says biophysicist Eva Nogales who led this research. “For the genetic code to be transcribed into messenger RNA, the DNA double helix has to be opened and the strand of gene sequences has to be properly positioned so that RNA polymerase, the enzyme that catalyzes transcription, knows where the gene starts. The electron microscopy images we produced show how this is done.” (more…)

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New Key to Organism Complexity Identified

Berkeley Scientists Find that a Critical Transcription Factor Co-exists in Two Distinct States

The enormously diverse complexity seen amongst individual species within the animal kingdom evolved from a surprisingly small gene pool. For example, mice effectively serve as medical research models because humans and mice share 80-percent of the same protein-coding genes. The key to morphological and behavioral complexity, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests, is the regulation of gene expression by a family of DNA-binding proteins called “transcription factors.” Now, a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley has discovered the secret behind how one these critical transcription factors is able to perform – a split personality. (more…)

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Close Up Look at a Microbial Vaccination Program

*Berkeley Lab Researchers Resolve Sub-nanometer Structure of Cascade, an Ally for Human Immune System*

A complex of proteins in the bacterium E.coli that plays a critical role in defending the microbe from viruses and other invaders has been discovered to have the shape of a seahorse by researchers with the U.S Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). This discovery holds far more implications for your own health than you might think.

In its never-ending battle to protect you from infections by bacteria, viruses, toxins and other invasive elements, your immune system has an important ally – many allies in fact. By the time you reach adulthood, some 90-percent of the cells in your body are microbial. These microbes – collectively known as the microbiome – play a critical role in preserving the health of their human host. (more…)

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