Scientists Discover New Dangerous Subtype of Streptococcus pyogenes

A team of scientists led by Imperial College London has discovered a new subtype of emm89 Streptococcus pyogenes that has contributed to a rise in disease cases in the United Kingdom over the last two decades.

Streptococcus pyogenes under the electron microscope (false color). Image credit: Vincent Fischetti, Rockefeller University / CDC.
The human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus ) causes around 600 million infections per year worldwide. Severe infections can cause necrotizing fasciitis, pneumonia, sepsis, or toxic shock.
The researchers noticed a sharp rise in infections caused by one particular strain of Streptococcus pyogenes , called emm89, from 1998 to 2009.
To investigate why, they sequenced the genomes of bacterial samples… Read more

Seahorse’s Square Tail Could Inspire Future Breakthroughs in Biomedicine, Robotics

Researchers studying the seahorse’s tail have found that square-shaped tails are better when both grasping and armor are needed. The finding could lead to building better robots, defense systems and medical devices.

The seahorse’s tail is made up of about 36 square-like segments, each composed of four L-shaped corner plates that progressively decrease in size along the length of the tail. Image credit: Shellac / CC BY 2.0.
Seahorse tails are organized into square prisms surrounded by bony plates that are connected by joints. Many other creatures, ranging from monkeys to rodents, have cylindrical tails.
An international team of scientists led by Dr Michael Porter of Clemson University wanted to know whether the square-prism shape gives seahorse tails a functional advantage.
“Almost all animal t… Read more

Scientists Discover How to ‘Uncook’ Egg Whites

In research that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments and food production, a team of chemists from Australia and the United States, led by Prof Gregory Weiss of the University of California, Irvine, has developed a way of ‘unboiling’ hen egg whites.

Scientists have found a way to unboil eggs. Image credit: Eugene Kim / CC BY 2.0.
“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Prof Weiss, who is the senior author of a paper published online in the journal ChemBioChem .
“In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold.”
“We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”
Prof Weiss and his collaborators have struggled to produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins… Read more

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