University of Dundee scientists have been awarded Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grants totalling more than £1 million to fund their research into cancer and diabetes.
CRUK Nucleic Acid Structure Group
Dr Ramasubramanian Sudaramoorthy and co-workers have determined the structure of an enzyme that regulates access to DNA bound to a ubiquitinylated nucleosome. This work has been published in the journal eLife.
All living cells make proteins to carry out nearly all the jobs that keep them alive, including the enzymes that speed up chemical reactions and molecular pumps that move molecules from one place to another. All this constant activity is what we call the cell's metabolism. Often scientists seek some kind of Achilles heel in that metabolism to achieve therapeutic intervention.
Why do dogs have puppies, cats have kittens, and we have children with similar characteristics to ourselves? Because information is passed down through the genes, a library of instruction manuals on how to build all living things. Genes are made of the famous double-helical DNA molecule, that encodes information (the instructions) in its structure, in the order of the pieces (the "bases", of which there are four types) that make it up. RNA is similar, yet more dynamic, a worker rather than just a library. This is the basis of the science of genetics.
The School of Life Sciences Prizes were presented today at the Research Symposium in Crieff. Each of the judging panels commented on the high standard and quality of the entries submitted which exemplifies the research excellence and outstanding public engagement taking place in the School.
Professor David Lilley most recent research findings have been published in Nature Chemical Biology today. The paper describes the crystal structure of a new ribozyme (called TS). Ribozymes are RNA molecules that act like enzymes to accelerate chemical reactions. The great majority of enzymes are made of proteins, but a small sub-set are made of RNA (a close chemical cousin of the familiar DNA).
Last month Professor David Lilley from the School of Life Sciences was selected to chair a session at the prestigious Solvay Conference in Brussels. The Solvay Conferences began in 1911 and take place every three years in physics or chemistry. The event is invitation-only and attended by around 50 scientists who are the world leaders in the area of the meeting. The 1911 Solvay Conference in Physics was the first international conference in physics ever to be organised.
Nanotechnology is engineering at an unimaginably small scale, that of individual molecules. Nature has led the way with this, constructing complex structures and functioning machines inside living cells, and scientists are taking a lead from this to engineer molecular-scale objects using natural molecules as building blocks. These could have a variety of potential functions, the most promising of which is the precise, targeted delivery of drug molecules. This is perhaps the real-life equivalent of the old science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage (1966), or a step in that direction.