Scripps Scientists Solve Long-Standing Mystery of Protein “Quality Control” Mechanism

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have solved a long-standing mystery of how cells conduct “quality control” to eliminate the toxic effects of a certain kind of error in protein production. The findings may lead to a better understanding of a host of neurodegenerative diseases.  The new study, published by NATURE online recently,  suggests how cells in eukaryotic organisms, like humans, sense and destroy “non-stop” proteins that remain stuck in the ribosome, the protein manufacturing plant of the cell.

Controlling Muscles with Light Impulses – “Optogenetics”

Rearchers at Stanford University have found a way to move muscles with pulses of light.  The study, published in Nature Medicine, describes what the researchers are calling “optogenetics” — a technology which uses light-sensitive proteins from a single-celled alga placed on the nerve and pulses of light to trigger muscle movement.  The researchers insert the gene for a protein called channelrhodopsin-2, which comes from green algae. Then when the neuron implanted with the gene is exposed to blue light, the protein starts a chain of electrical activity inside the cell which spreads to surrounding neurons.