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  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 1,366 views

Brown Bears Use Anal Sac Secretions to Sniff Out Mates

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) sense their world largely through their nose (Figure 1). They have an extremely well developed sense of smell; under ideal conditions, they can detect odors from over a mile away. They often amble along with their nose to the ground, picking up scents of potential food sources or scents deposited by other bears.


...A pair of brown bears (Ursus arctos), also know as grizzly bears, in Yellowstone National Park.

...Many other members of the Order Carnivora rely on........ Read more »

F. Rosell, S. M. Jojola, K. Ingdal, B. A. Lassen, J. E. Swenson, J. M. Arnemo . (2011) Brown bears possess anal sacs and secretions may code for sex. Journal of Zoology, 143-152. info:/

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 1,115 views

Hyperfast Echolocation Muscles in Bats

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

With echolocation, however, bats only get a snapshot of their environment with each call and echo, requiring them to make rapid successions of calls. By bouncing sound waves off objects, including the bugs that are their main diet, bats can produce an accurate representation of their environment in total darkness. When hunting a flying insect that can quickly move in any direction, bats need the most rapid updates on their prey’s position in the instant before the catch. At this crit........ Read more »

Elemans, C., Mead, A., Jakobsen, L., & Ratcliffe, J. (2011) Superfast Muscles Set Maximum Call Rate in Echolocating Bats. Science, 333(6051), 1885-1888. DOI: 10.1126/science.1207309  

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 1,340 views

New Mammalian Phylogeny

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

It is a large and robust DNA matrix including representatives for 99 percent of mammalian families, and covers not only the earliest history of mammalian diversification but also all the deepest divergences among living mammals.


“This is the first time this kind of dataset has been put together for mammals,” said Mark Springer, a professor of biology at UC Riverside, who co-led the research project with William Murphy, an associate professor of genetics at Texas A&M. “Until........ Read more »

Meredith, R., Janecka, J., Gatesy, J., Ryder, O., Fisher, C., Teeling, E., Goodbla, A., Eizirik, E., Simao, T., Stadler, T.... (2011) Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg Extinction on Mammal Diversification. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1211028  

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 1,259 views

Passive Electroreception in Dolphins

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

Sharks and other aquatic vertebrates are known to use passive electroreception to detect other organisms in the vicinity. Passive electroreception is the ability of an animal to detect the weak electric field given off by another animal in the vicinity. However, mammals rely primarily on visual, olfactory, touch, and auditory information to perceive their world. Among mammals, only the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) and echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) uses passive electroreception t........ Read more »

Czech-Damal, N., Liebschner, A., Miersch, L., Klauer, G., Hanke, F., Marshall, C., Dehnhardt, G., & Hanke, W. (2011) Electroreception in the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1729), 663-668. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1127  

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 927 views

More Options Than I Thought: GPCR Expression Systems

by Peter Nollert in Emerald BioStructures Blog



When it comes to expression systems, insect cells have been the primary supplier of GPCR protein for crystallographic studies. Notable exceptions are:


Rhodopsins can be obtained from the retina of eyes from Squid or cows and alternatively be expressed in COS cells.

The Histamine H1 receptor expressed in Pichia pastoris was used to determine its crystal structure


To attendees and listeners of the "GPCR expression for biophysical and structural studies" webinar:  There was ........ Read more »

Shimamura T, Shiroishi M, Weyand S, Tsujimoto H, Winter G, Katritch V, Abagyan R, Cherezov V, Liu W, Han GW.... (2011) Structure of the human histamine H1 receptor complex with doxepin. Nature, 475(7354), 65-70. PMID: 21697825  

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 907 views

Relaying the Signal Inside the GPCR-Gs Complex: Breakthrough Structure (Ligand-β2AR-Gs)

by Peter Nollert in Emerald BioStructures Blog



If you want to witness scientific history in the make, it's been very rewarding to watch the discoveries in GPCR structural biology unfold over the past few months. This development is trumped today by the publication of the crystal structure of the agonist-occupied β2 adrenergic receptor (active) in complex with the (nucleotide free) Gs heterotrimer.

Rasmussen, S., DeVree, B., Zou, Y., Kruse, A., Chung, K., Kobilka, T., Thian, F., Chae, P., Pardon, E., Calinski, D., Mathiesen,........ Read more »

Rasmussen, S., DeVree, B., Zou, Y., Kruse, A., Chung, K., Kobilka, T., Thian, F., Chae, P., Pardon, E., Calinski, D.... (2011) Crystal structure of the β2 adrenergic receptor–Gs protein complex. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature10361  

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 1,046 views

Structures of Histamine H1 Receptor with Bound Drug Molecule and Adenosine Receptor with Bound Agonists

by Peter Nollert in Emerald BioStructures Blog



In a rather remarkable chain of two events, NATURE has published two GPCR structure papers: Histamine H1 Recepotor bound to doxepin: 3RZE and A2A Adenosine Receptor with bound agonists Adenosine 2YDO & NECA 2YDV.

Lebon G, Warne T, Edwards PC, Bennett K, Langmead CJ, Leslie AG, & Tate CG (2011). Agonist-bound adenosine A(2A) receptor structures reveal common features of GPCR activation. Nature PMID: 21593763

T.Shimamura, M. Shiroishi, S. Weyand, H.Tsujimoto, G. Winter, V. Katr........ Read more »

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 801 views

New Species of Hero Shrew

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

Scientists at Chicago's Field Museum and international collaborators have described a new species of Hero Shrew – the mammal with the most bizarre lower spine on Earth. The interlocking vertebrae of the Hero Shrew render the spine four to five times more robust relative to body mass, a condition not found in any other mammal.

...This new species of Hero Shrew, named Scutisorex thori, possesses features that may represent intermediate character states between the only other known Hero S........ Read more »

  • December 31, 1969
  • 07:32 PM
  • 734 views

Military Sonar Alters Whale Behavior

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

Some blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) off the coast of California change their behavior when exposed to the sort of underwater sounds used during U.S. military exercises. The whales may alter diving behavior or temporarily avoid important feeding areas, according to new research by the Southern California Behavioral Response Study.


Researchers exposed tagged blue whales in the California Bight to simulated mid-frequency (3.5-4 kHz) sonar sounds significantly less intense than the militar........ Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,391 views

Darwin's contributions and why this matters for Mexico's conifers

by Claire Williams in Conifer Reproductive Biology

For International Darwin Day, February 12. Darwin's birthday inspired an elegant treatise by UNAM professor Antonio Lazcano, published in Science back in 2005. His article traces the cultural, social and science history roots behind widespread acceptance of Darwin's ideas in Mexico. This careful analysis is worthwhile reading, particularly for those working in the USA.... Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,445 views

Poppies: You’re getting sleepy…very sleepy…

by aewills in A Bouquet From Mendel

An intro to the lovely California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, its useful alkaloids, and molecular approaches to maximize their biosynthetic yield.... Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,200 views

New Years Resolution, Reflection on Cancer Research

by Nicole Kelesoglu in E3 Engaging Epigenetics Experts

Recent news in cancer research points to the importance of epigenetics and cell signalling in producing complex combinational cures.... Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,798 views

Vaccines: Myths and Realities

by Anton Power in BioMed Weekly

Summary of common myths and why they are wrong.... Read more »

De Wals P, Deceuninck G, Toth E, Boulianne N, Brunet D, Boucher RM, Landry M, & De Serres G. (2012) Risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome following H1N1 influenza vaccination in Quebec. JAMA : the Journal of the American Medical Association, 308(2), 175-81. PMID: 22782419  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,913 views

How to get max protein from E.coli

by Dave Dilyx in Protein Solubility Blog

Bacterium E. coli is the working horse of protein expression, and a rare biotechnologist knows about it more than the basic stuff like "grow at 37°C". This approach is fine if you don't have any problems expressing your protein, but if the target protein aggregates irreversibly in certain conditions or you have to rapidly screen for solubility conditions, you are left with an insolvable puzzle. Bacterial physiology may be not cool anymore, but knowing just a little more about ........ Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 2,250 views

Not all E.coli strains are created equal

by Dave Dilyx in Protein Solubility Blog

BL21 (DE3) strain of E.coli and its derivatives have the ability to support expression from the strong T7 promoter, traditionally used for expression vectors. However, transcription from this promoter is “leaky”, e.g. there is some level of expression even in the absence of induction. If the protein is toxic - and if you have protein aggregation this is often the case - this creates selective pressure to get rid of the protein by accumulating mutations in the vector. That’s ........ Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,577 views

Middle age females are most interested in mating: Lessons from a cricket

by Sue Bertram in Lab Chirps

How age influences phonotaxis in virgin female Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilis)

A new article in PeerJ written by Karen Pacheco, Jeff Dawson, Mike Jutting, and Sue Bertram... Read more »

Karen Pacheco, Jeff Dawson, Mike Jutting, and Sue Bertram. (2013) How age influences phonotaxis in virgin female Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilis). PeerJ. info:/10.7717/peerj.130

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,137 views

Can RNAi be used as medicine?

by Nicole Kelesoglu in E3 Engaging Epigenetics Experts

A fun post with commentary about a recent clinical RNAi success story.... Read more »

Coelho T, Adams D, Silva A, Lozeron P, Hawkins PN, Mant T, Perez J, Chiesa J, Warrington S, Tranter E.... (2013) Safety and efficacy of RNAi therapy for transthyretin amyloidosis. The New England journal of medicine, 369(9), 819-29. PMID: 23984729  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,266 views

Medicine goes under the Needle

by James Dunce in Antisense Science

Tattoo artists may soon be faced with the prospect of a career change into the world of medicine thanks to the revelation that tattooing technology can be effectively applied in the delivery of vaccines and anti-parasitic drugs to the upper layers of the dermis.... Read more »

Shio MT, Paquet M, Martel C, Bosschaerts T, Stienstra S, Olivier M, & Fortin A. (2014) Drug delivery by tattooing to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis. Scientific reports, 4156. PMID: 24561704  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,880 views

Regenerating the aged thymus

by Caroline Hendry in the Node

The latest issue of Development includes a paper by Clare Blackburn and colleagues at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, showing that the aged mouse thymus can be regenerated in vivo by the upregulation of a single transcription factor, FOXN1.... Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,743 views

Electron-spin clue to solving general anesthesia mystery

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study on fruit flies suggests general anesthetics can affect electron-spin properties... Read more »

Turin Luca, Skoulakis Efthimios, & Horsfield Andrew. (2014) Electron spin changes during general anesthesia in Drosophila. PNAS, Early edition(N/A). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404387111  

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