Bringing Structure to Biology
|01 Sep 2021||
What the cat dragged in..
At a time when we are constantly aware of our health and our relationship with the microbial world it is perhaps easy to forget that our pet companions are just as vulnerable to their own assortment of microbial pathogens.
|01 Aug 2021||
Body’s Super Glue
The word “collagen” comes from the Greek word “kólla'', meaning ''glue”. It is known as glue because it is the component that produces a glue-like substance when tissues are boiled. It is also considered as the biological glue that holds cells together.
|01 Jul 2021||
Breast cancer and BRCA1: an intertwining story of DNA and protein
The BRCA1 story intertwines DNA and proteins as reflected by this month’s artwork. The role of the protein encoded by the BRCA1 gene can be envisioned as the protein acting like a doctor in a battlefield hospital organizing a medical crew to mend a wounded section of DNA. This image is helpful because it is not BRCA1 on its own that repairs the DNA, but the repair work involves multiple protein ‘team-mates’, or protein partners.
|01 Jun 2021||
Threat of antibiotic resistance - Health Matters
The 'wonder drug'
Prior to World War II, having a bacterial infection would have a significant risk of death. The accidental discovery of modern day penicillin in 1928 from a fungus, by Alexander Fleming, not only helped in combating bacterial infections in wartime, but also saved millions of lives around the world to date.
|01 May 2021||
The unzipping enzyme
Every cell needs to divide and produce more cells in order to preserve life. The first step is to make a copy of its own DNA to pass on to daughter cells. This process of making an identical DNA is known as replication and is one of the most fundamental processes that occurs within a cell.
|01 Apr 2021||
Glutamate receptors and epilepsy
The protein which inspired the artwork for our featured structure for April 2021 is the glutamate receptor 2, an important mediator of the synaptic transmissions in the central nervous system, playing a key role in the generation and spread of epileptic seizures.
|05 Mar 2021||
The amazing spider silk
Spider silk is an incredibly strong and versatile material, both sturdy - it is five times stronger by weight than steel - and elastic - it can be stretched 2-4 times its original length without breaking. Spider silk threads usually measure just a few microns in diameter, making them even thinner than a human hair, yet they are waterproof and able to keep their strength below -40°C.
|01 Feb 2021||
Protecting us… even in our tears…
We are still making discoveries about lysozyme and its many roles in the arms-race between our body’s defences and bacterial invaders.
|01 Jan 2021||
Things are always better when we work together - and the same can be said even for microscopic organisms. Our featured structure for January 2021 discusses these tiny communities, and the proteins that help bring them together.
|01 Dec 2020||
The Human Papillomavirus
The unseen battle
The structure that inspired December's image in our 2020 calendar is that of the whole Human Papillomavirus viral capsid. Whilst most people will experience a harmless HPV infection during their life, for some the consequences can be fatal.