Mutations do not predict the severity of current variants of SARS-CoV-2

New research from UNC Charlotte’s Center for Computational Intelligence to Predict Health and Environmental Risks has found that the two most prevalent strains of the virus that cause COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 variants BA.2.86 and JN.1, are not significantly better than their predecessor Omicron at evading immune responses and causing infections despite having a high number of mutations compared to previous variants.

Media Tip: Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source to accelerate biological and environmental research

In October 2023, the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, officially launched a new initiative to expand biological and environmental research at the world leading X-ray and analysis facility.

Researchers use Argonne X-rays to find the best antibodies

Antibody therapies are only effective if the antibodies do what we want them to do. This research can help scientists determine if an antibody is likely to stick to something other than the intended target, which should lessen the amount of time wasted with overly sticky antibodies.

Zinc Transporter Has Built-in Self-regulating Sensor

Scientists at Brookhaven Lab have determined the atomic-level structure of a zinc-transporter protein, a molecular machine that regulates levels of this crucial trace metal micronutrient inside cells. The structure reveals how the cellular membrane protein shifts its shape to move zinc from the environment into a cell, and temporarily blocks this action automatically when zinc levels inside the cell get too high.

Structure of ‘Oil-Eating’ Enzyme Opens Door to Bioengineered Catalysts

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have produced the first atomic-level structure of an enzyme that selectively cuts carbon-hydrogen bonds—the first and most challenging step in turning simple hydrocarbons into more useful chemicals. The detailed atomic level “blueprint” suggests ways to engineer the enzyme to produce desired products.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Argonne technology eyes bird activity at solar facilities

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is a global health emergency. Scientists use ultrabright X-ray beams and diffraction imagery to understand how poxviruses behave. This can accelerate development of critical vaccines and treatments for monkeypox and other poxviruses.

Paintings, Cartoons Combine to Render Biological Molecules

During the annual ACA meeting, David Goodsell, of Scripps Research and RCSB Protein Data Bank, will discuss his use of artistic methods to visualize biological data. His presentation, “Art as a Tool for Structural Biology,” takes place Tuesday. Traditional artistic mediums, like painting, provide the freedom necessary to illustrate cells, and Goodsell is using illustrations to lay the foundation for computational modeling of whole cells. He also creates brightly colored, cartoonlike graphics with nonphotorealistic computer graphics methods to highlight the overall shape of molecules and how they assemble and interact.

Preparing for exascale: Argonne’s Aurora supercomputer to drive brain map construction

Argonne researchers are mapping the complex tangle of the brain’s connections — a connectome — by developing applications that will find their stride in the advent of exascale computing.

Sloan Kettering Institute’s Dana Pe’er Named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Dana Pe’er, PhD, computational biologist and lab head at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSK) Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI), is one of 33 biomedical researchers named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator today.

Science Snapshots from Berkeley Lab

An experiment to study gravity at the quantum scale, insights into an antibiotic-building enzyme, and the backstory of an incredible new protein prediction algorithm are featured in this month’s roundup of science highlights.

Scientists repurpose cancer and seizure medications to aid in the fight against COVID-19

Two teams of researchers using the Advanced Photon Source identified existing drugs — one used to treat cancer, the other an anti-seizure medication — that may work as treatments for COVID-19.

Advanced Photon Source helps reveal how antibodies bind a molecule linked to cancer

Researchers have developed antibodies that can bind to phosphohistidine, an unstable molecule that’s linked to cancer. To learn how the two bind together, the team turned to the powerful X-rays at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. These new insights into its structure will help scientists design better antibodies for potential treatments.

More than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Protein 3D Structures Available

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 3, 2021) – The 3D structures of more than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus proteins are freely available from the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The data bank reached the milestone this week, with 1,018 proteins as…

Study Identifies Never-Before-Seen Dual Function in Enzyme Critical for Cancer Growth

In developing therapies for hard-to-treat breast and ovarian cancers in patients with BRCA gene mutations, scientists aim to identify ways to keep cancer cells from using DNA break repair pathways. New findings demonstrate a previously-unknown capability for polymerase theta (pol theta) – a key enzyme in this repair function – that shows promise as a new avenue for treatment development.

The Odd Structure of ORF8: Scientists Map the Coronavirus Protein Linked to Disease Severity

A team of biologists who banded together to support COVID-19 science determined the atomic structure of a coronavirus protein thought to help the pathogen evade and dampen response from human immune cells. The structural map has laid the groundwork for new antiviral treatments and enabled further investigations into how the newly emerged virus ravages the human body.

10 ways Argonne science is combatting COVID-19

Argonne scientists and research facilities have made a difference in the fight against COVID-19 in the year since the first gene sequence for the virus was published.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss AI Advances Linked to RCSB Protein Data Bank

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 3, 2020) – Stephen K. Burley, director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, is available for interviews on how the bank’s 50 years of data on the 3D biomolecular structures of life and artificial intelligence can lead…

How scientists around the country are using the APS to fight COVID-19

Research teams from across the United States are using a multitude of techniques to study the SARS-CoV-2 virus using the Advanced Photon Source from their homes and institutions.

Near-atomic ‘maps’ reveal structure for maintaining pH balance in cells

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Nov. 4, 2020) — For the first time, scientists have visualized a new class of molecular gates that maintain pH balance within brain cells, a critical function that keeps cells alive and helps prevent stroke and other brain injuries.