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Dangerous pathogens use this sophisticated machinery to infect hosts

Pathogens illustration (stock image). Credit: © beawolf / Adobe Stock Gastric cancer, Q fever, Legionnaires' disease, whooping cough -- though the infectious bacteria that cause these dangerous diseases are each different, they all utilize the same molecular machinery to infect human cells. Bacteria use this machinery, called a Type IV secretion system (T4SS), to inject…

Researchers unravel mechanisms that control cell size

Dividing cells illustration. Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock Working with bacteria, a multidisciplinary team at the University of California San Diego has provided new insight into a longstanding question in science: What are the underlying mechanisms that control the size of cells? Nearly five years ago a team led by Suckjoon Jun, a biophysicist…

Dangerous pathogens use this sophisticated machinery to infect hosts

Pathogens illustration (stock image). Credit: © beawolf / Adobe Stock Gastric cancer, Q fever, Legionnaires' disease, whooping cough -- though the infectious bacteria that cause these dangerous diseases are each different, they all utilize the same molecular machinery to infect human cells. Bacteria use this machinery, called a Type IV secretion system (T4SS), to inject…

Scientists propose rethinking ‘endangered species’ definition to save slow-breeding giants

Elephants. Credit: © Chaiphorn / Adobe Stock Conservation decisions based on population counts may fail to protect large, slow-breeding animals from irrevocable decline, according to new research coinciding with Endangered Species Day. "Critical thresholds in so-called vital rates -- such as mortality and fertility rates among males and females of various ages -- can signal…

Bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago

Bedbug. Credit: © Tomasz / Adobe Stock Bedbugs -- some of the most unwanted human bed-mates -- have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. Work by an international team of scientists, including the University of Sheffield, compared…

Jawless fish take a bite out of the blood-brain barrier

Lamprey mouth. Credit: © Gena / Adobe Stock A jawless parasitic fish could help lead the way to more effective treatments for multiple brain ailments, including cancer, trauma and stroke. One major challenge in treating cancers and other disorders of the brain is ensuring that medicines reach their targets. A team of biomedical engineers and…

Global invasion routes of the red swamp crayfish, described based on...

Red swamp crayfish. Credit: © ladistock / Adobe Stock A study led by researchers at the Doñana Biological Station of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in collaboration with institutions in Europe, America and Asia, has identified the main introduction routes of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, during its global-scale invasion. This North American…

Species facing climate change could find help in odd place: Urban...

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. Credit: © Paul Sparks / Adobe Stock When it comes to wildlife conservation efforts, urban environments could be far more helpful than we think, according to new research. A study published today in Ecology shows that animals move faster through 'low quality' habitats -- evidence that could change the way conservationists think…

Scientists bioengineer a cellular speedometer

Pseudomonas aeruginosa illustration. Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock An all-Princeton research team has identified bacteria that can detect the speed of flowing fluids. Many kinds of cells can sense flow, just as our skin cells can feel the difference between a gentle breeze and a strong wind. But we depend on feeling the force…

Catch a virus by its tail

Lassa fever virus illustration. Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / Adobe Stock Viruses are masterful invaders. They cannibalize host cells by injecting their genetic material, often making thousands of copies of themselves in a single cell to ensure their replication and survival. Some RNA viruses insert their genetic material as a single piece, while others chop it…

Human gut microbiome physiology can now be studied in vitro using...

Gut bacteria illustration. Credit: © AGPhotography / Adobe Stock The human microbiome, the huge collection of microbes that live inside and on our body, profoundly affects human health and disease. The human gut flora in particular, which harbor the densest number of microbes, not only break down nutrients and release molecules important for our survival…

Tomato pan-genome makes bringing flavor back easier

Tomatoes. Credit: © slavomir pancevac / Adobe Stock Almost everyone agrees that most store-bought tomatoes don't have much flavor. Now, scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) may have spotlighted the solution in a paper just published in Nature Genetics. Molecular biologist James Giovannoni with the ARS Plant, Soil…

Use of robots and artificial intelligence to understand the deep sea

Seabed with marine life. Credit: © Andrey Kuzmin / Adobe Stock Artificial intelligence (AI) could help scientists shed new light on the variety of species living on the ocean floor, according to new research led by the University of Plymouth. With increasing threats facing the marine environment, scientists desperately need more information about what inhabits…

Birds outside their comfort zone are more vulnerable to deforestation

Green-headed tanager. Credit: © davydele / Adobe Stock Members of the same bird species can have dramatically different responses to deforestation depending on where they live, finds a new study. Predicting a species' sensitivity to environmental changes, such as deforestation or climate change, is crucial for designing conservation strategies. These predictions are often based on…

Secrets of fluorescent microalgae could lead to super-efficient solar cells

Sunlight shining into the sea. Credit: © Dudarev Mikhail / Adobe Stock Tiny light-emitting microalgae, found in the ocean, could hold the secret to the next generation of organic solar cells, according to new research carried out at the Universities of Birmingham and Utrecht. Microalgae are probably the oldest surviving living organisms on the planet.…

Broccoli sprout compound may restore brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia

Broccoli sprouts. Credit: © Marc / Adobe Stock In a series of recently published studies using animals and people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have further characterized a set of chemical imbalances in the brains of people with schizophrenia related to the chemical glutamate. And they figured out how to tweak the level using…

Climate change responsible for severe infectious disease in UK frogs

Common frog. Credit: © davemhuntphoto / Adobe Stock Climate change has already increased the spread and severity of a fatal disease caused by Ranavirus that infects common frogs (Rana temporaria) in the UK, according to research led by ZSL's Institute of Zoology, UCL and Queen Mary University of London published today in Global Change Biology…

New type of highly sensitive vision discovered in deep-sea fish

Light shining into dark ocean. Credit: © RadoslawStan / Adobe Stock The deep sea is home to fish species that can detect various wavelengths of light in near-total darkness. Unlike other vertebrates, they have several genes for the light-sensitive photopigment rhodopsin, which likely enables these fish to detect bioluminescent signals from light-emitting organs. The findings…

Researchers discover ‘daywake,’ a siesta-suppressing gene

Fruit fly. Credit: © Studiotouch / Adobe Stock Rutgers researchers have identified a siesta-suppressing gene in fruit flies, which sheds light on the biology that helps many creatures, including humans, balance the benefits of a good nap against those of getting important activities done during the day. Many animals take midday naps, or siestas, that…

Radioactive carbon from nuclear bomb tests found in deep ocean trenches

Nuclear explosion in ocean (stock illustration). Credit: © niyazz / Adobe Stock Radioactive carbon released into the atmosphere from 20th-century nuclear bomb tests has reached the deepest parts of the ocean, new research finds. A new study in AGU's journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the first evidence of radioactive carbon from nuclear bomb tests in…

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