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Detailed View of Immune Proteins Could Lead to New Pathogen-Defense Strategies

Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.

X-Rays Reveal the Biting Truth About Parrotfish Teeth

A new study has revealed a chain mail-like woven microstructure that gives parrotfish teeth their remarkable ability to chomp on coral all day long – the structure could serve as a blueprint for designing ultra-durable synthetic materials.

To Find New Biofuel Enzymes, It Can Take a Microbial Village

In search of new plant enzymes? Try looking in compost. Researchers at JBEI have demonstrated the importance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be used to convert plants to biofuels. This approach yields robust enzymes that researchers can’t easily obtain from isolates.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Help Map the Microbiome of Everything

In the Earth Microbiome Project, an extensive global team collected more than 27,000 samples from numerous, diverse environments around the globe. They analyzed the unique collections of microbes – the microbiomes – living in each sample to generate the first reference database of bacteria colonizing the planet. Thanks to newly standardized protocols, original analytical methods and open data-sharing, the project will continue to grow and improve as new data are added. The paper describing this effort, published November

Genome Research Challenges Previous Understanding of the Origin of Photosynthesis

Plant biologists at Berkeley Lab, in collaboration with colleagues from Caltech, have reconstructed the evolutionary history of photosynthesis to provide new insight into the yet-unfolding story of its origins.

Screening for Disease or Toxins in a Drop of Blood

The promise of being able to quickly and accurately screen for diseases or chemical contaminants in a tiny drop of blood has long been an elusive goal. But scientist Daojing Wang says his company’s technology is up to the job.

Beyond Biofuels: Berkeley Lab Facility a Catalyst for Broader Bio-based Economy

When the DOE’s Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (ABPDU) at Berkeley Lab commenced operations in 2012, the initial focus was on overcoming barriers to biofuel commercialization. To date, the ABPDU has entered into agreements with more than 30 partners.

NIH Awards $6.5 Million to Berkeley Lab for Augmenting Structural Biology Research Experience

The NIH has awarded $6.5 million to Berkeley Lab to integrate existing synchrotron structural biology resources to better serve researchers. The grant will establish a center based at the Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) called ALS-ENABLE that will guide users through the most appropriate routes for answering their specific biological questions.

International Team Reconstructs Nanoscale Virus Features from Correlations of Scattered X-rays

As part of an international research team Berkeley Lab researchers contributed key algorithms which helped achieve a goal first proposed more than 40 years ago – using angular correlations of X-ray snapshots from non-crystalline molecules to determine the 3D structure of important biological objects.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Map Key DNA Protein Complex at Near-Atomic Resolution

Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), Berkeley Lab scientists have obtained 3-D models of a human transcription factor at near-atomic resolutions. The protein complex is critical to gene expression and DNA repair, and could aid research in targeted drug development.