How do our muscles work?

How do our muscles work?

Scientists led by Kristina Djinović-Carugo at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have elucidated the molecular structure and regulation of the essential muscle protein α-actinin. The new findings allow unprecedented insights into the protein's mode of action and its role in muscle disorders. The findings, made in collaboration with King's College London (KCL), may lead to improved treatments, and are published in the top-class journal Cell.

DNA may survive suborbital spaceflight, re-entry

DNA may survive suborbital spaceflight, re-entry

Plasmid DNA attached to the outer surface of a sounding rocket may be able to withstand rocket launch, a period of residence in suborbital space, re-entry, and landing conditions into the Earth's atmosphere, all the while staying intact and active in its function as carrier of genetic information, according to a study published November 26, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Cora Thiel and Oliver Ullrich from University of Zurich and colleagues.

Post-medieval Polish buried as potential 'vampires' were likely local

Post-medieval Polish buried as potential 'vampires' were likely local

Potential 'vampires' buried in northwestern Poland with sickles and rocks across their bodies were likely local and not immigrants to the region, according to a study published November 26, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lesley Gregoricka from University of South Alabama and colleagues.

Arctic conditions may become critical for polar bears by end of 21st century

Arctic conditions may become critical for polar bears by end of 21st century

Shifts in the timing and duration of ice cover, especially the possible lengthening of ice-free periods, may impact polar bears under projected warming before the end of the 21st century, according to a study published November 26, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Stephen Hamilton from University of Alberta and colleagues.

DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

Applied to the outer shell of the payload section of a rocket using pipettes, small, double-stranded DNA molecules flew into space from Earth and back again. After the launch, space flight, re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and landing, the so-called plasmid DNA molecules were still found on all the application points on the rocket from the TEXUS-49 mission. And this was not the only surprise: For the most part, the DNA salvaged was even still able to transfer genetic information to bacterial and connective tissue cells.

Matched 'hybrid' systems may hold key to wider use of renewable energy

Matched 'hybrid' systems may hold key to wider use of renewable energy

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The use of renewable energy in the United States could take a significant leap forward with improved storage technologies or more efforts to "match" different forms of alternative energy systems that provide an overall more steady flow of electricity, researchers say in a new report.

NASA's Van Allen Probes spot an impenetrable barrier in space

NASA's Van Allen Probes spot an impenetrable barrier in space

Two donuts of seething radiation that surround Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts, have been found to contain a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents the fastest, most energetic electrons from reaching Earth.

Blistering skin disease may be treatable with 'therapeutic reprogramming,' researchers say

Induced pluripotent stem cells made from patients with a form of blistering skin disease can be genetically corrected and used to grow back healthy skin cells in laboratory dishes, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found. They've termed the new technique "therapeutic reprogramming."

The skin cells formed normal human skin when grafted onto the backs of laboratory mice, they said.

Carnegie Mellon researchers identify brain regions that encode words, grammar, story

Some people say that reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" taught them the importance of friends, or that easy decisions are seldom right. Carnegie Mellon University scientists used a chapter of that book to learn a different lesson: identifying what different regions of the brain are doing when people read.

Human antibodies produced in DNA-vaccinated cows protect in lethal models of hantavirus

Scientists investigating the potentially deadly hantavirus have used a novel approach to developing protective antibodies against it. Their work, published in today's online edition of Science Translational Medicine, provides proof of concept for producing antibodies against a broad range of human pathogens.

Hantaviruses cause a condition known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which has a case fatality rate of 35-40 percent. Currently there are no licensed vaccines, prophylactics, or therapeutics to prevent or treat this highly pathogenic disease.