The bacterial world contains a treasure trove of potent compounds with biological activities that can be harnessed for human benefit. Researchers from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, have recently found that Urdamycin, a compound produced by Streptomyces bacteria, has the ability to induce cell death in cancer cells.
One of the main challenges in cancer chemotherapy is how to selectively kill tumour cells while leaving healthy cells alive. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have come up with a novel approach where they use an artificially constructed ion channel and certain biochemical peculiarities of cancer cells to induce cell death in a highly targeted manner.
In a recent study, researchers at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune have used Cryo-Electronic microscopy to figure out the structure of an "orphan" receptor expressed in the central nervous system. The study provides important insights into the mechanisms via which this receptor functions, and sets a precedent for using Cryo-EM as a powerful tool for molecular investigation.
One of the reasons why viral infections can be difficult to treat is the high mutation rate displayed by many viruses, which can sometimes allow them to evade our immune systems and develop resistance to drugs. In this article, Shivani looks into the evidence gathered by scientists around the world on mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has set off a wave of research activities across the world, aimed at finding clues that would allow us to design effective therapeutics and vaccines. In one such effort, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have initiated a study into the molecular dynamics of the process via which the novel coronavirus attaches to cells of the human respiratory system.
This new study from researchers at IISER Pune delves into the potential biological function of an 'orphan enzyme' using a variety of biochemical, molecular, and structural techniques. Siddhesh Kamat, the Principal Investigator who led this project was recently awarded the EMBO Young Investigators Award as well as the Merck Young Scientist Award.
Researchers at the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru have used a combination of techniques to unravel the mystery of how prions misfold. Prions are proteins that undergo structural changes to form compound assemblies called amyloid fibrils, which can lead to fatal infectious neurodegenerative diseases like the Mad Cow disease and other Transmissible Spongiform Encelopathies in mammals.