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New Form of Electron-beam Imaging Can See Elements that are ‘Invisible’ to Common Methods

At right, this colorized image produced by a Berkeley Lab-developed electron imaging technique called STEM shows details of nanoscale gold particles and also a carbon film (blue). At left, an colorized image from a more conventional electron-based technique called ADF-STEM is mostly blind to the carbon material. (Colin Ophus/Berkeley Lab)

A new Berkeley Lab-developed electron-beam imaging technique, tested on samples of nanoscale gold and carbon, greatly improves images of light elements. The technique can reveal structural details for materials that would be overlooked by some traditional methods.

Scientists Take Key Step Toward Custom-made Nanoscale Chemical Factories

The shell of a bacterial microcompartment (or BMC) is mainly composed of hexagonal proteins, with pentagonal proteins capping the vertices, similar to a soccer ball (left). Scientists have engineered one of these hexagonal proteins, normally devoid of any metal center, to bind an iron-sulfur cluster (orange and yellow sticks, upper right). This cluster can serve as an electron relay to transfer electrons across the shell. Introducing this new functionality in the shell of a BMC greatly expands their possibilities as custom-made bio-nanoreactors. (Credit: Clément Aussignargues/MSU, Cheryl Kerfeld and Markus Sutter/Berkeley Lab)

Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. The new design provides an entirely new functionality that greatly expands the potential for these compartments to serve as custom-made chemical factories.

New Weapon in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

184AA3, a xenograft model of ER+ breast adenocarcinoma, is the first clinically-relevant mouse model to generate tumors that bear a striking resemblance to the class of tumors found in the vast majority of women with breast cancer.

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed the first clinically-relevant mouse model of human breast cancer to successfully express functional estrogen receptor positive adenocarcinomas.
This model should be a powerful tool for testing therapies for aggressive ER+ breast cancers and for studying luminal cancers — the most prevalent and deadliest forms of breast cancer.

Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy:

3HM nanocarriers for brain cancer therapy

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new family of nanocarriers, called “3HM,” that meets all the size and stability requirements for effectively delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain for the treatment of a deadly form of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.

CinderBio Harnesses Extreme Microbes for Greener Industry

(from left) Steve Yannone, Jill Fuss and Adam Barnebey (Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

It’s no secret that extremophiles, or microbes that live in places like polar glaciers and toxic waste pools, may hold treasures worth billions. Now basic biology research has led to the formation of CinderBio, a startup co-founded by Berkeley Lab scientists Steve Yannone and Jill Fuss that produces heat- and acid-stable enzymes.

It Takes a Thief

The overall architecture of Cas1–Cas2 bound to protospacer DNA with line segments that indicate DNA lengths spanning a total of 33 nucleotides.

The discovery by Berkeley Lab researchers of the structural basis by which bacteria are able to capture genetic information from viruses and other foreign invaders for use in their own immunological system holds promise for studying or correcting problems in human genomes.

Cellular Contamination Pathway for Plutonium, Other Heavy Elements, Identified

From left to right, Rebecca Abergel, Stacey Gauny, Manuel Struzbecher-Hoehne, and Dahlia An. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new avenues of research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants.

Atomic View of Microtubules


Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers produced an atomic view of microtubules that enabled them to identify the crucial role played by a family of end-binding proteins in regulating microtubule dynamic instability, the physical property that enables microtubules to play a crucial role in cell division.

Unlocking the Rice Immune System

Rice is a staple for half the world’s population and the model plant for grass-type biofuel feedstocks (Photo courtesy of IRRI)

JBEI, UC Davis and Berkeley Lab researchers have identified a bacterial signaling molecule that triggers an immunity response in rice plants, enabling the plants to resist a devastating blight disease. Rice is not only a staple food, it is the model for grass-type advanced biofuels.

Unravelling the Mysteries of Carbonic Acid

When gaseous carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, its hydrophobic nature carves out a cylindrical cavity, setting the stage for the proton transfer reactions that produce carbonic acid.

Berkeley Lab researchers report the first detailed characterization of the hydration structure of carbon dioxide gas as it dissolves in water to form carbonic acid. Though carbonic acid exists for only a fraction of a second, it imparts a lasting impact on Earth’s atmosphere and geology, and on the human body