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New insights into how cellulose is built could indicate how to break it apart for biofuels
New insights into how cellulose is built could indicate how to break it apart for biofuels 26 March 2018A comprehensive look at how plants build cellulose, the primary building block of the walls of most plant cells that is used in a wide variety of manmade materials, could have important implications for its use in biofuels. Researchers at Penn State have identified the major steps in the process as well as the tools used by plant cells to create cellulose, including proteins that transport critical components to the location where cellulose is made.
New crystal structures reveal a mysterious mechanism of gene regulation by the "magic spot"
New crystal structures reveal a mysterious mechanism of gene regulation by the "magic spot" 22 February 2018Using an innovative crystallization technique, an international team of researchers, led by scientists at Penn State, has revealed new insights into the long debated action of the “magic spot”—a molecule that controls gene expression in Eschericahia coli and other bacteria when the bacteria are stressed.
New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components
New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components 22 January 2018Using a new method to create synthetic neurons, a team of researchers from Penn State explores how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. The team describes a core enzyme involved in the synthesis of these building blocks, called purines, and how the enzyme might change during infection by herpes simplex virus.
Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite
Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite 11 January 2018Researchers have used whole genome analyses and chemogenetics to identify new drug targets and resistance genes in the parasite the causes malaria.
Have RNA, will travel: Malaria parasite packs genetic material in preparation for trip from mosquitoes to humans
Have RNA, will travel: Malaria parasite packs genetic material in preparation for trip from mosquitoes to humans 10 January 2018The parasite that causes malaria has not one, but two, specialized proteins that protect its genetic material until the parasite takes up residence in a new host.
New research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication
New research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication 08 January 2018Manuel Llinás, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, have participated in the formulation of an updated research agenda for global malaria elimination and eradication.
Flies' disease-carrying potential may be greater than thought, researchers say
Flies' disease-carrying potential may be greater than thought, researchers say 28 November 2017A new study adds further proof to the suspicion that houseflies and blowflies carry and spread a variety of species of bacteria that are harmful to humans.
Survival of the least-fit: antiviral drug selectively targets the nastiest viruses
Survival of the least-fit: antiviral drug selectively targets the nastiest viruses 08 November 2017An antiviral drug that inhibits a virus' replication machinery selectively targets the most-aggressive viruses, according to new research that looked at the infection of individual cells by a virus and the consequence of antiviral intervention.
Cryo-electron microscope to bring life sciences and materials sciences together
Cryo-electron microscope to bring life sciences and materials sciences together 06 November 2017A new cryo-electron microscope, cryo-EM, that is also a spectrometer will bring life science methods together with materials science practices together to improve both fields and share methods across disciplines.
Identifying the mechanism for a new class of antiviral drugs could hasten their approval
Identifying the mechanism for a new class of antiviral drugs could hasten their approval 24 October 2017New research shows that a new class of antiviral drugs works by causing the virus’ replication machinery to pause and backtrack, preventing the virus from efficiently replicating.
Exploring how herpes simplex virus changes when passed between family members
Exploring how herpes simplex virus changes when passed between family members 20 October 2017A new study explores how herpes simplex virus might change when passed from one individual to another, information that may prove useful in future development of therapeutics and vaccines.
Renewable resource: sulfur is used, replenished to produce lipoic acid
Renewable resource: sulfur is used, replenished to produce lipoic acid 19 October 2017New research shows how a protein is consumed and then reconstituted during the production of lipoic acid, a compound required by our bodies to convert energy from food into a form that can be used by our cells.
New statistical method for evaluating reproducibility in studies of genome organization
New statistical method for evaluating reproducibility in studies of genome organization 03 October 2017A new, statistical method to evaluate the reproducibility of data from Hi-C -- a cutting-edge tool for studying how the genome works in three dimensions inside of a cell -- will help ensure that the data in these “big data” studies is reliable.
$4.92M gift to Penn State for new industrial biotechnology center
$4.92M gift to Penn State for new industrial biotechnology center 19 September 2017CSL Behring, a global specialty biotherapeutics leader, has committed $4.92 million to Penn State over the next six years to create the multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Biotechnology, and to revitalize the Shared Fermentation Facility, an engine for collaboration and innovation in biological training and research on the University Park campus.
Out through the window: Crystal structure reveals details of nonstandard RNA transcription
Out through the window:  Crystal structure reveals details of nonstandard RNA transcription 21 August 2017High-resolution crystal structure reveals a new pathway for RNA during a nontraditional form of transcription.
New, more sensitive sensor for evaluating drug safety
New, more sensitive sensor for evaluating drug safety 03 August 2017A new technique for evaluating drug safety can detect stress on cells at earlier stages than conventional methods, which mostly rely on detecting cell death. The new method uses a fluorescent sensor that is turned on in a cell when misfolded proteins begin to aggregate -- an early sign of cellular stress.
Malaria parasites sense and adapt to their host’s nutritional status
Malaria parasites sense and adapt to their host’s nutritional status 05 July 2017A new study shows that the infectious agent responsible for malaria, the Plasmodium parasite, is able to sense its host’s nutritional status and actively adapt through changes in gene expression to reduce the number of offspring it produces.
Genes, Ozone, and Autism: Increased risk for autism when genetic variation and air pollution meet
Genes, Ozone, and Autism: Increased risk for autism when genetic variation and air pollution meet 22 June 2017A new analysis shows that individuals with high levels of genetic variation and elevated exposure to ozone in the environment are at an even higher risk for developing autism than would be expected by adding the two risk factors together.
Potential new target for antimalarial drugs identified
Potential new target for antimalarial drugs identified 14 June 2017A newly described protein could be an effective target for combatting drug-resistant malaria parasites. The protein, the transcription factor PfAP2-I, regulates a number of genes involved with the parasite’s invasion of red blood cells, a critical part of the parasite’s complex life cycle that could be targeted by new antimalarial drugs
Penn State DNA ladders: inexpensive molecular rulers for DNA research
Penn State DNA ladders: inexpensive molecular rulers for DNA research 26 May 2017New, license-free DNA ladders will allow researchers to estimate the size of fragments of DNA for a fraction of the cost of currently available methods.

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