To accommodate the increasing energy demands, new techniques for the production, conversion and storage of energy are required. Solar energy is a natural, free and abundant source of energy from the sun and can be converted to various forms. As hydrogen possesses '120-140 MJ/kg storage capacity and is a clean energy source, it can be studied as a future efficient and eco-friendly fuel. Studies directed towards converting solar energy for H2 production using catalysts are currently underway, but locating a fit catalyst is challenging. Dr. Soltau’s review covers emerging opportunities using natural protein structures as a booming source towards the conversion of solar energy to H2 production.
Integration of synthetic molecular catalysts with protein structures has emerged as a new field of study that provides novel opportunities to understand and improve on catalytic processes. The use of proteins to develop photocatalytic biohybrid systems enhances this field by further enabling the development of direct donor-acceptor systems that utilize protein architectures to facilitate photocatalysis. This mini-review focusses primarily on current efforts to combine protein scaffolds with homogeneous synthetic molecular catalysts and photosensitizers for photocatalytic hydrogen (H2) production, while other methods of H2 production will be briefly introduced in context.
Mx1 (Myxovirus (Influenza virus) resistance 1, interferon-inducible protein p78) gene has been implicated in the resistance to a wide range of RNA viruses including influenza A in several species such as Sus scrofa. In the present study a 28-bp deletion in exon 14 of the Mx1 gene has been identified in Iberian domestic pigs but not in other domestic breeds neither in wild boars. The mutation produces a frameshift giving a protein with 6 amino acid substitutions and the extension of the C-terminal region with additional 20 amino acids with respect to the wild type MX1 protein. The new allelic polymorphism affects the antiviral domain of the MX1 protein and therefore might impact its anti-influenza virus activity. It has been demonstrated that polymorphisms in the Mx1 murine locus, affect the survival rate of mice upon experimental infection with influenza virus. It might be possible to improve the innate resistance of pigs to influenza virus infection by determining the porcine Mx1 alleles with more potent antiviral activity and genetically selecting animals bearing such alleles.
Autophagy is an essential catabolic pathway responsible for the maintenance of organismal homeostasis. Degradation of damaged organelles and proteinaceous aggregates predominantly takes place via autophagy and a proper function of autophagy is vital for cellular surveillance. Given their post-mitotic nature, neurons are particularly vulnerable to stress and, consequently, robust housekeeping systems are required to guarantee the adequate functionality and viability of neurons. A vast literature links defective autophagic function to neurodegenerative diseases and dietary/pharmacological activation of autophagy has been proposed as potential strategy to fight these diseases. Here we summarize the recent progress on the research of neuronal autophagy highlighting the unique features of autophagy in neurons. In the last section, we discuss about therapeutic strategies modulating autophagy to preserve neuronal surveillance during aging.
Ever since video games were available to the general public, they have intrigued brain researchers for many reasons. There is an enormous amount of diversity in the video game research, ranging from types of video games used, the amount of time spent playing video games, the definition of video gamer versus non-gamer to the results obtained after playing video games. In this paper, our goal is to provide a critical discussion of these issues, along with some steps towards generalization using the discussion of an article published by Clemenson and Stark (2005) as the starting point. The authors used a distinction between 2D versus 3D video games to compare their effects on the learning and memory in humans. The primary hypothesis of the authors is that the exploration of virtual environments while playing video games is a human correlate of environment enrichment. Authors found that video gamers performed better than the non-video gamers, and if non-gamers are trained on playing video gamers, 3D games provide better environment enrichment compared to 2D video games, as indicated by better memory scores. The end goal of standardization in video games is to be able to translate the field so that the results can be used for greater good.
RNA therapeutics refers to the use of oligonucleotides to target primarily ribonucleic acids (RNA) for therapeutic efforts or in research studies to elucidate functions of genes. Oligonucleotides are distinct from other pharmacological modalities, such as small molecules and antibodies that target mainly proteins, due to their mechanisms of action and chemical properties. Nucleic acids come in two forms: deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) and ribonucleic acids (RNA). Although DNA is more stable, RNA offers more structural variety ranging from messenger RNA (mRNA) that codes for protein to non-coding RNAs, microRNA (miRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and long-noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). As our understanding of the wide variety of RNAs deepens, researchers have sought to target RNA since >80% of the genome is estimated to be transcribed. These transcripts include non-coding RNAs such as miRNAs and siRNAs that function in gene regulation by playing key roles in the transfer of genetic information from DNA to protein, the final product of the central dogma in biology. Currently there are.....
As described in this issue’s review about scientific teaching, an evidence-based approach to pedagogy is gradually gaining momentum across a wide range of academic disciplines, most notably the STEM fields. A number of challenges still remain on the road ahead but substantial progress has been made. One topic to emerge as a particularly active research area is the identification of misconceptions in learning or teaching processes1 2 3. Misconceptions of this type can be harbored by either the student or instructor (and sometimes both)4 5 6. In recent years, an array of diverse research has been conducted to identify misconceptions across a number of academic disciplines, offering startling insights into the relationship between student or instructor perception and outcomes in different learning processes7 8 9 10 11. In many respects, the results from this area have yielded some of the biggest surprises in evidence-based pedagogy.
Research investigating the relationship between teaching quality and student outcomes has found that teachers with higher knowledge for content and pedagogy are more likely to spend more time using effective practices while teaching than teachers with less knowledge. This is important, especially for teachers of students with specific learning disabilities, whose teachers require specialized knowledge and skill to support them in making gains. This qualitative study investigates three teachers’ knowledge and skill of effective fluency instruction for teaching students with specific learning disabilities. Using three different approaches to assessing teacher knowledge, researchers examined the misconceptions, consistencies, and contradictions revealed in teachers’ understandings across data sources. The researchers encourage researchers, teacher educators, and those involved in teacher evaluation to examine teacher understanding from multiple perspectives.
In the recent years, novel regulatory functions of non-coding RNAs have been discovered. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are diverse classes of RNA molecules not translated into proteins that possess intricate regulatory and structural functions. The human genome sequencing performed by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium revealed that only 20–25,000 genes are protein coding, corresponding to less than 2% of the human genome (2004). Although the common belief that the remaining and larger portion of the human genome was not functional and considered as “junk DNA”, recent studies based on tiling arrays and RNA deep sequencing show thousands of RNA transcripts not derived from known genes and not encoding proteins (KAPRANOV et al. 2007 ; CARNINCI et al. 2005). These molecules......
The treatment of pedagogy as a scientific subject, a process known as scientific teaching, has been ongoing for over a decade now, particularly in higher education STEM fields. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has been at the forefront of this effort, investing over $100 million in a wide variety of educational initiatives targeted across a diverse array of students, primarily at the university level. Although the range of progress has been substantial, much work remains to be done. This review, though not exhaustive, will attempt to summarize some of the important advancements made thus far while also offering commentary on current and future challenges.