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RNA: A new method to discover its high-resolution structure

New research combines experimental data and molecular dynamics simulations to study biomolecules in their natural environment

16-Jun-2021

The structure of a biomolecule can reveal much about its functioning and interaction with the surrounding environment. The double-helical structure of DNA and its implications for the processes of transmission of genetic information form an obvious example. In a new study by SISSA - Scuola ...

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How the brain constructs the world

14-Feb-2018

How are raw sensory signals transformed into a brain representation of the world that surrounds us? The question was first posed over 100 years ago, but new experimental strategies make the challenge more exciting than ever. SISSA investigators have now uncovered the contributions to perception ...

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Towards more effective therapies to fight breast cancer

22-May-2017

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women in Italy and in the world. Today, however, it seems possible to design more selective and effective drugs through numerical simulations. This is what has been revealed by research carried out by the "Istituto Officina dei Materiali" (IOM) ...

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It is easier for a DNA knot...

30-Mar-2017

Anyone who has been on a sailing boat knows that tying a knot is the best way to secure a rope to a hook and prevent its slippage. The same applies to sewing threads where knots are introduced to prevent them slipping through two pieces of fabric. How, then, can long DNA filaments, which have ...

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The large-scale stability of chromosomes

30-Jun-2016

"Interphase" refers to the period in the cell cycle in which chromosomes spend most of their time. During this phase, in between mitoses, chromosomes live "dissolved'' in the nucleus where they carry out the processes required for the duplication of genetic material. Our current knowledge ...

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'Metal' drugs to fight cancer

23-Dec-2015

Pharmaceutical research can be difficult and frustrating. Often, one happens to synthesize a molecule without knowing exactly what kind of therapeutic effect it will have (if it ever will have any). "It is rare for someone to develop a new active drug already knowing what mechanism it will ...

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From good to bad with a copper switch

22-Oct-2015

At the molecular level, the difference between Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde lies in a metal, copper. In its physiological form, the prion protein (PrPC ) is 'good' and is involved in normal body processes. It can happen, however, that because of some as yet unknown mechanism, it changes form and ...

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At the origin of cell division

The features of living matter emerge from inanimate matter

22-Apr-2014

Droplets of filamentous material enclosed in a lipid membrane: these are the models of a "simplified" cell used by the SISSA physicists Luca Giomi and Antonio DeSimone, who simulated the spontaneous emergence of cell motility and division - that is, features of living material - in inanimate ...

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The origin of the evil conformation

Where does the pathological misfolding of the prion originate?

28-Jan-2014

"When they are healthy, they look like tiny spheres; when they are malignant, they appear as cubes" stated Giuseppe Legname, principal investigator of the Prion Biology Laboratory at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste, when describing prion proteins. Prions ...

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Viral puzzles

Scientists explore the mechanisms of viruses' shells

13-Dec-2013

Viruses are like small vessels containing an active component, the genetic material, that can infect a host cell. The vessel, called capsid or vector, is basically a shell that changes its shape when it penetrates a cell to infect it, and may even break into pieces. The research team, that ...

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