Research News – 6

Biotech route for rubber: Natural rubber trumps synthetic, petroleum-derived rubber in useful qualities such as elasticity and abrasion resistance. But rubber trees are quite susceptible to disease, leading scientists to search for other sources of natural rubber and to understand the specifics of its biosynthesis. Lettuce plants are a source of natural rubber, and now Qu et al. identify a scaffold protein called CPTL2 that keeps rubber-synthesizing enzymes from bouncing around the cell. Tethered to the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum, CPTL2 anchors a protein important for rubber polymerization in place. Plants with reduced expression of CPTL2 could not synthesize rubber, revealing its essential role.  From the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2014

10.1074/jbc.M114.616920 (2014).

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Research News – 5

Three research articles published recently relevant to Industrial Microbiology.   Simultaneous consumption of Cellobiose, Xylose and Acetate. Uniqueness in the cellobiose paper published in ACS synthetic biology: co-consumption of cellobiose, xylose and acetate; evolutionary engineering for increased cellobiose consumption; sequencing revealed increased copy numbers of a particular gene than mutations; co-fermentation had higher ethanol yields and lower by-product formation. Producing a natural product using a consortium … Continue reading Research News – 5

PE-2 and CEN.PK meeting 1: Invite

A meeting of an uncommonest kind (at the museum of sound and image from Campinas) This is a fictional conversation between the yeast strains PE-2 and CEN.PK. Pun is intended.   CEN.PK: Howdy ! How’s life at your end ?   PE-2: Hiya. All work and no play is making me a dull person !   CEN.PK:  Oh, poor you. I’m truly sorry. I had thought … Continue reading PE-2 and CEN.PK meeting 1: Invite

Vicissitudes of thoughts

(at Tijuca National Park in Rio de Janeiro) Prepaid cards are used in buses. I have not yet seen a single female bus driver. Gender fluidity is seen everywhere. Examples include women riding motor bikes, going to the gym. I hear that violence against women is common, that women are hooted at, on the streets. Pharmacy stores are open 24 hours. There are far too many of … Continue reading Vicissitudes of thoughts

Research News – 4

There were many interesting articles published in the last three weeks. Some of them are inspiring in terms of experimental design while others clearly show the steep progress that has been made in synthetic biology.   1. Electric field increases enzyme activity: As reported in science: “Enzymes accelerate chemical processes by coaxing molecules into just the right reactive states. Fried et al. now elucidate the way the … Continue reading Research News – 4

Being a foreigner at UNICAMP in Brazil

It will be nearly two months since I had left Brockwood. I feel that the time is ripe now to share my ‘first impressions’ on Brazil.  Day 1 The flight from Heathrow took off an hour later than the scheduled time and the captain did not make up for the lost time, in the air. I arrived in Sao Paulo on Wednesday October 22 and I had to take the airport … Continue reading Being a foreigner at UNICAMP in Brazil