Over the past century, our understanding of cells—the basic building blocks of living organisms—has progressed largely due to microscopes. The invention of fluorescence microscopy has been a primary tool in this scientific endeavor because it allows researchers to color-label specific cellular components and observe them in live cells. The new two-color 3-D Minflux microscope is a vast improvement on traditional fluorescence microscopy because, for the first time, researchers can track how two molecules can interact with each other on the size scale of the molecules themselves.
Scientists report that they have built a living “minimal cell” with a genome stripped down to its barest essentials – and a computer model of the cell that mirrors its behavior. By refining and testing their model, the scientists say they are developing a system that can predict how changes to the genomes, living conditions or physical characteristics of live cells will alter how they function.
They report their findings in the journal Cell.
Bacteria employ many different strategies to regulate gene expression in response to fluctuating, often stressful, conditions in their environments. One type of regulation involves non-coding RNA molecules called small RNAs (sRNAs), which are found in all domains of life. A new study by researchers describes, for the first time, the impacts of sRNA interactions in individual bacterial cells. Their findings are reported in the journal Nature Communications, with the paper selected as an Editors’ highlight article.
Researchers have developed the first computational model of a human cell and simulated its behavior for 15 minutes – the longest time achieved for a biological system of this complexity. In a new study, simulations reveal the effects of spatial organization within cells on some of the genetic processes that control the regulation and development of human traits and some human diseases.
The study, which produced a new computational platform that is available to any researcher, is published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology.
The IGB’s Fox Family Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program has inspired one participant to found a company with a mission to create computational tools for biomedical researchers.
Ribosomes, the cellular machines that build proteins, are themselves made up of dozens of proteins and a few looping strands of RNA. A new study, reported in the journal Nature, offers new clues about how the ribosome, the master assembler of proteins, also assembles itself.