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Posts tagged with "Biological News"

  • Biological News

    Fructose In The Brain?

    Let’s talk sugar, and how you know if you’ve eaten enough of it. Just in time for Halloween! This is a field I’ve done drug discovery for in the past, and it’s a tricky business. But some of the signals are being worked out. Blood glucose, as the usual circulating energy source in the body… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    More Glowing Cells: Chemistry Comes Through Again

    I’ve spoken before about the acetylene-azide “click” reaction popularized by Barry Sharpless and his co-workers out at Scripps. This has been taken up by the chemical biology field in a big way, and all sorts of ingenious applications are starting to emerge. The tight, specific ligation reaction that forms the triazole lets you modify biomole… Read More
  • Biological News

    A Green Fluorescent Nobel Prize

    So it was green fluorescent protein after all! We can argue about whether this was a pure chemistry prize or another quasi-biology one, but either way, the award is a strong one. So, what is the stuff and what’s it do? Osamu Shimomura discovered the actual protein back in 1962, isolating it from the jellyfish… Read More
  • Biological News

    Antipsychotics: Do They Work For A Completely Different Reason?

    As I’ve noted here, and many others have elsewhere, we have very little idea how many important central nervous system drugs actually work. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiseizure medications for epilepsy – the real workings of these drugs are quite obscure. The standard explanation for this state of things is that the human brain is extre… Read More
  • Biological News

    New, Improved DNA?

    As all organic chemists who follow the literature know, over the last few years there’s been a strong swell of papers using Barry Sharpless’s “click chemistry” triazole-forming reactions. These reaction let you form five-membered triazole rings from two not-very-reactive partners, an azide and an acetylene, and people have been putting them… Read More
  • Biological News

    Receptors: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Understand ‘Em

    At various points in my drug discovery career, I’ve worked on G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets. Most everyone in the drug industry has at some point – a significant fraction of the known drugs work through them, even though we have a heck of a time knowing what their structures are like. For those outside the… Read More
  • Biological News

    Killing Proteins Wholesale

    Benjamin Cravatt at Scripps has another interesting paper out this week – by my standards, he hasn’t published very many dull ones. I spoke about some earlier work of his here, where his group tried to profile enzymes in living cells and found that the results they got were much different than the ones seen… Read More
  • Biological News

    Empty As Can Be

    OK, drugs generally bind to some sort of cavity in a protein. So what’s in that cavity when the drug isn’t there? Well, sometimes it’s the substance that the drug is trying to mimic or block, the body’s own ligand doing what it’s supposed to be doing. But what about when that isn’t occupying the… Read More
  • Biological News

    Nanotech Stem Cells, Order Now!

    A good rule to follow: hold onto your wallet when two exciting, complicated fields of research are combined. Nature reported earlier this spring on a good example of this, the announcement by a small biotech called Primegen that they’d used carbon nanotubes to reprogram stem cells. (Here’s a good article from VentureBeat on the same… Read More
  • Biological News

    RNA Interference: Even Trickier Than You Thought

    It’s been a while since I talked about RNA interference here. It’s still one of those tremendously promising therapeutic ideas, and it’s still having a tremendously hard time proving itself. Small RNA molecules can do all sorts of interesting and surprising things inside cells, but the trick is getting them there. Living systems are not… Read More