Welcome to edition #9 of the MolBio Carnival! If you the third edition of the carnival which I also hosted, you probably wonder why a part of this post is in German. The answer is easy, the German science blogosphere is big and keeps growing, and I want to feature molecular biology-related blog posts here as well! If you speak German, feel free to look around!

If you catch a cold, there is not much you can do but wait till it gets better after a week of coughing and sneezing. Since a cold is caused by viruses, treatment is difficult. Effective drugs like antibiotics just don’t work. Scientists from the Belgian company Ablynx tried a new approach to tackle virus infections: Single-domain antibodies are fragments of the classical antibodies, but they are much smaller. That means they are also much better able to bind to smaller parts of viruses where normal antibodies can’t reach. Michael Scott Long from phased tells us about a study that tested the efficacy of such single-domain antibodies against a number of viruses. It did not only work quite well, they were even able to connect antibodies against different viruses to produces molecules that could recognize multiple targets!


Different types of engineered antibodies. Single-domain antibody on the right, compare the sizes! Source

So I just told you about how great antibiotics are in treating bacteria. Well, I oversimplified. It has been known for some time now that bacteria acquire resistance against antibiotics, and that the number of strains that are resistant against multiple antibiotics keeps on growing. New antibiotics, and more importantly, new strategies for treatment are needed. At It Takes 30, Becky Ward writes about a study that established a new and clever assay system to test new candidate drug targets in bacteria. While the system itself is interesting (using a HIV protein to our advantage!), I found the unexpected results even more fascinating!

The final blog post in English for this edition is by Christopher Dieni at Bitesize Bio. Following his great series on protein phosphorylation I also wrote about in the last edition of the MolBio Carnival I hosted, he started a new series of posts on working with enzymes in general. After establishing what an enzyme is in his first post, the second post deals with how to get a functional enzyme in the lab to be able to test its activity. For this he touches on ways to get the enzyme out of the cells it is expressed in, how to purify it from the rest of the proteins in these cells and how to keep it stable and active.

Wie schon beim letzten Mal hab ich auch heute deutsche Blogposts zur Molekularbiologie dazugenommen! Beide Posts stammen von Blogs aus den Wissenslogs und behandeln Grundlagenartikel:
Bastian Greshake von der Bierologie schreibt über die Möglichkeiten, mehr über die Verwandtschaft zwischen verschiedenen biologischen Arten herauszufinden – und zwar besonders, wie hier DNA- oder Proteinsequenzen weiterhelfen können. Das Problem vor den molekularen Methoden war, dass häufig Ähnlichkeiten zwischen Arten als Beleg für eine Verwandtschaft betrachtet wurden, obwohl diese Ähnlichkeiten andere Gründe hatten. So wurden Arten als nahe miteinander verwandt betrachtet, obwohl sie vielleicht gar nicht so viel miteinander gemeinsam hatten. Auch der Vergleich von DNA- oder Proteinsequenzen zwischen zwei Arten kann natürlich zu Fehlern führen. Doch hier kombiniert man eine objektivere Analyse mit einer ungleich größeren Anzahl von Merkmalen, die man vergleichen kann. Wie das alles funktioniert lest ihr am besten bei Bastian nach.

Auch in dem Artikel von Sebastian Reusch auf Enkapsis geht es im Grunde um Verwandtschaft. Und um Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede, die einem etwas Neues über die Biologie erzählen sollen. Doch anstatt um verschiedene Tier-, Pflanzen- oder Bakterienarten geht es bei ihm um Zwillinge. Seit der ersten Idee von Charles Darwins Cousin Francis Galton, der Vergleich von Zwillingen könnte bei genetischen Fragestellungen weiterhelfen, konnten die so genannten Zwillingsstudien zur Aufklärung einer großen Zahl genetisch begründeter Krankheiten beitragen. Gerade die alte Frage des nature vs. nurture, also den Anteilen von Genetik und Umwelt an z. B. einer Krankheit, lässt sich mit Zwillingen gut untersuchen. Doch so einfach ist das nicht, wie sich besonders in den letzten Jahren zeigte! Sebastian erklärt, wie die Epigenetik Unterschiede zwischen genetisch praktisch identischen eineiigen Zwillingen erklären kann.


That was the March edition of the MolBio Carnival. You can check future hosts and past editions on the Carnival’s home page. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed to receive notifications and summaries when new editions of the Carnival are posted. Also, you are welcome to submit your best molbio blog articles to the next edition of The MolBio Carnival which will be hosted by Psi Wavefunction at Skeptic Wonder. More info here.

Hultberg, A., Temperton, N., Rosseels, V., Koenders, M., Gonzalez-Pajuelo, M., Schepens, B., Itatí Ibañez, L., Vanlandschoot, P., Schillemans, J., Saunders, M., Weiss, R., Saelens, X., Melero, J., Verrips, C., Van Gucht, S., & de Haard, H. (2011). Llama-Derived Single Domain Antibodies to Build Multivalent, Superpotent and Broadened Neutralizing Anti-Viral Molecules PLoS ONE, 6 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017665

Wei JR, Krishnamoorthy V, Murphy K, Kim JH, Schnappinger D, Alber T, Sassetti CM, Rhee KY, & Rubin EJ (2011). Depletion of antibiotic targets has widely varying effects on growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (10), 4176-81 PMID: 21368134

Zwijnenburg, P., Meijers-Heijboer, H., & Boomsma, D. (2010). Identical but not the same: The value of discordant monozygotic twins in genetic research American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.b.31091

Bell, J., & Spector, T. (2011). A twin approach to unraveling epigenetics Trends in Genetics, 27 (3), 116-125 DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2010.12.005

Kommentare (2)

  1. #1 Sebastian R.
    April 4, 2011

    Many thanks for hosting this carnival again!

  2. #2 Scott
    April 5, 2011

    Interesting reading, all closely related to my science writing interests. I hope to soon read a BiteSizeBio series on transmembrane protein purification.