Lipid membranes surround our cells and form the boundaries around compartments within them. Roger Williams’ group has now shown how membrane characteristics can tune the activities of protein complexes with important roles in autophagy and endosomal membrane trafficking.
Producing maps of how neurons connect with each other (connectomes) allows scientists to build and test theories of brain function. Greg Jefferis’ group have presented the first full map of olfactory, thermosensory, and hygrosensory projection neurons in the fly brain.
Use of reverse transcription for synthesis of xeno-nucleic acids is limited by low reverse transcriptase enzyme activity. Philipp Holliger’s group have developed a new directed evolution method to improve reverse transcriptase activity for any nucleic acid chemistry.
Multiple ribosomes speed along an mRNA to translate the genetic code into proteins. Szymon Juszkiewicz and Manu Hegde now find that when ribosomes collide, cells stop new ribosomes from starting translation and recruit a factor that clears the collision.
Each of our cells contains about two metres of DNA. To be able to store all of this, the DNA must be very tightly compacted. Jan Löwe’s group have produced the first atomic model of condensin, a complex known to have a role in compacting DNA into chromosomes, in its entirety.
Menna Clatworthy’s group has identified a key signalling molecule in determining the balance between wound healing and defence against bacterial invasion, with implications for our understanding of the immune system’s role in inflammatory bowel disease.