Saturday, July 23, 2011

A lack of structure facilitates protein synthesis

Texts without spaces are not very legible, as they make it very difficult for the reader to identify where a word begins and where it ends. When genetic information in our cells is read and translated into proteins, the enzymes responsible for this task face a similar challenge. They must find the correct starting point for protein synthesis. Therefore, in organisms with no real nucleus, a point exists shortly before the start codon, to which the enzymes can bind particularly well. This helps them find the starting point itself. However, genes that do not have this sequence are also reliably translated into proteins. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam have discovered that the structure of the messenger RNA probably plays a crucial role in this process.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Predicting liver transplant rejection

"The survival rate of liver transplant patients one year after treatment has improved from about 30% in the 1970s to more than 80%, with acute cellular rejection (ACR) the most common complication. It occurs in about 30% of cases and is generally arrested by drug treatment. However, if ACR occurs more than one year after the transplant, survival rates plummet.
The diagnosis of ACR requires a tissue biopsy, which is risky and uncomfortable for the patient. Even then, the interpretation of samples is difficult because the three clinical predictors are not always present.
These problems have prompted scientists in the US to look for a non-invasive alternative diagnosis for ACR and they turned to proteomics for the solution. Michael Charlton and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to look at the serum proteome to see if any indicators of ACR were detectable.
Human serum contains many high-abundant proteins but, if they are removed before protein analysis, it is possible to detect low-abundant proteins which are transiently present in serum.
So, proteins secreted by cells or produced during cell destruction become visible. These include hormones and cytokines which are transported in serum to their destinations within the human body."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

HPLC 2011 highlights chromatography technologies

Thermo Fisher Scientific is to highlight its expanded offering of chromatography instruments, software and consumables, including the Accucore HPLC column range, at the HPLC 2011 event in Budapest.
The Accucore HPLC column range is said to enhance laboratory workflow and efficiency by providing increased sensitivity and peak resolution in columns that are compatible with almost any instrument.
Thermo Fisher Scientific will also showcase the Easy-NLC 1000 split-free nano-flow system for advanced proteomics research at HPLC 2011.
This system is said to increase chromatographic resolution and, as a result, protein and peptide identifications, with ultra-high-pressure operation.
The company will also highlight the Velos Pro linear ion trap and the Orbitrap Velos Pro hybrid FTMS mass spectrometers.
These systems are said to provide improved quantitative performance, faster scanning, trap higher energy collision dissociation (HCD) and enhanced robustness.
Thermo Fisher Scientific will also introduce the Q Exactive high-performance benchtop quadrupole-Orbitrap LC-MS/MS, which combines quadrupole precursor selection and high-resolution accurate mass (HR/AM) Orbitrap mass analysis to deliver high-confidence quantitative and qualitative workflows.
With the HR/AM Quanfirmation capability, the Q Exactive mass spectrometer can identify, quantify and confirm more trace-level peptides and proteins in complex mixtures in one analytical run.
The Orbitrap Elite hybrid mass spectrometer is said to provide the resolution and sensitivity required to improve the determination of the molecular weights of intact proteins within laboratories, as well as enable greater proteome coverage through improved protein, PTM and peptide identification, even at low abundances.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Scientists welcome bioinformatics bonanza

AUSTRALIAN researchers now have free access to one of the world's most comprehensive database resources.
Launched last month, a mirror facility at the University of Queensland in Brisbane means scientists can use their computers to enter the most used data services of the British arm of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute.