Monday is here one more time and the opportunity for science talk is here once again. Time to brighten your day with selections from science sites across the globe. New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world. Today's tidbits include worm study shows nitrous oxide prolongs live, unlocking the mystery behind Saturn's moonlets, calcium is the initial trigger in our immune response to healing, and light emitting bioprobe fits in a single cell.
Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot near the fire. There is always plenty of room for everyone. Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.
As more functions of nitrous oxide are discovered in time one more benefit, prolongation of life, is now being reported.
In the new study, the average C. elegans lifespan increased by nearly 15 percent, to about two weeks, when researchers fed the worms nitric oxide-producing B. subtilis bacteria, compared to worms fed mutant B. subtilis with a deleted nitric oxide production gene. The research group also used fluorescent sensors to show that C. elegans does not make its own nitric oxide gas. When the worms were fed normal B. subtilis bacteria, however, the fluorescent signal appeared in their guts.For several yeas now CASSINI has offered images of Saturn and its moonlets. Studying the moonlets offers clues to planetary formation.
Fluorescent labeling and other tests also demonstrated that B. subtilis-derived nitric oxide penetrated the worms' tissues, where it activated a set of 65 genes. Some had been previously implicated in stress resistance, immune response, and increased lifespan, though others have unknown functions. Importantly, the researchers showed that two well-known regulatory proteins were essential for activating all of the genes.
Saturn's F ring has long been of interest to scientists as its features rapid change on timescales from hours to years, and it is probably the only location in the solar system where large scale collisions happen on a daily basis.A flash of calcium is the body's initial cellular response to healing.
When CASSINI began imaging the Saturn system back in 2006 the discovery of a proliferation of moonlets – small natural satellites – in Saturn’s F ring was an unexpected find. Powerful tidal forces were thought to minimize the clumping of particles necessary to create these moonlets and scientists were at a loss to explain the high population in Saturn’s rings.
As the processes at work in Saturn’s rings are comparable to those of a protoplanetary disk, understanding them could be key to unlocking the secrets of our own solar system
...the very first trigger in this process is a flash of calcium which spreads like a wave back from the wound edge through gap junctions that connect all the cells.A new class of light-emitting bioprobes fit inside a single cell without damaging the cell.
This flash of calcium signal goes on to activate an enzyme known as DUOX that synthesises hydrogen peroxide, which, in turn, attracts the first white blood cells to the wound. This white blood cell invasion, which is initiated during our inflammatory responses, is needed to kill off invading microbes and stop the onset of septicaemia following tissue damage.
The findings indicate that the wound-induced calcium flash represents the earliest identified signal following wounding and might therefore orchestrate the rapid recruitment of immune cells.
The researchers call their device a “nanobeam,” because it resembles a steel I-beam with a series of round holes etched through the center. These beams, however, are not massive, but measure only a few microns in length and just a few hundred nanometers in width and thickness. It looks a bit like a piece from an erector set of old. The holes through the beams act like a nanoscale hall of mirrors, focusing and amplifying light at the center of the beam in what are known as photonic cavities. These are the building blocks for nanoscale lasers and LEDs.
At the cellular level, a nanobeam acts like a needle able to penetrate cell walls without injury. Once inserted, the beam emits light, yielding a remarkable array of research applications and implications. While other groups have shown that it is possible to insert simple nanotubes and electrical nanowires into cells, nobody had yet realized such complicated optical components inside biological cells.
Knucklehead's Photo of the Week
An Octopuses Garden
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Other Worthy Stories of the Week
Source of high energy cosmic rays found
Cosmic rays come from exploding stars
Comet dust seeding life to Jupiter's moons?
Toll from meteor strike is biggest ever
MRI for the nanoscale
Frog lessons: More diversity equals less disease
Marsh plants actively engineer their landscape
What green algae are up to in the dark
Sewage lagoons remove most but not all pharmaceuticals
New owl species discovered in Indonesia is unique to one island
Historic legacy of lead pollution persists despite regulatory efforts
Archeologists uncover ancient temple in Peru
For even more science news:
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BBC News Science and Environment
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Cantauri Dreams space exploration
Coctail Party Physics Physics with a twist.
Deep Sea News marine biology
List of Geoscience Blogs
Tetrapod Zoology vertebrate paleontology
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The Skeptics Guide to the Universe--a combination of hard science and debunking crap