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Center for Physiology and Biophysics: News of the Day
  1. Tracing the evolution of vision
    The function of the visual photopigment rhodopsin and its action in the retina to facilitate vision is well understood. However, there remain questions about other biological functions of this family of proteins (opsins) and this has ramifications for our understanding of several evolutionary pathways. Now, an international research team has shown there are other functions of opsin outside vision and this provides insights into how the eye evolved.
    Materials scientists build a synthetic system with compartments like real cells
    Polymer chemists and materials scientists have achieved some notable advances that mimic Nature, but one of the most common and practical features of cells has so far been out of reach -- intracellular compartmentalization. Now researchers tell how they take advantage of differences in electrical charge to create an 'all aqueous,' water-in-water construct that achieves compartmentalization in a synthetic system.
    Scorpion toxin that targets 'wasabi receptor' may help solve mystery of chronic pain
    Researchers have discovered a scorpion toxin that targets the 'wasabi receptor,' a chemical-sensing protein found in nerve cells that's responsible for the sinus-jolting sting of wasabi. Because the toxin triggers a pain response, scientists think it can be used as a tool for studying chronic pain and inflammation, and may eventually lead to the development of new kinds of non-opioid pain relievers.
    High-precision technique stores cellular 'memory' in DNA
    Researchers have created a technology called DOMINO to store complex 'memories' in the DNA of living cells, including human cells. This memory storage capacity can form the foundation of complex circuits that trigger a cellular event, such as producing a fluorescent protein, when a specific event or sequence of events occurs.

  2. Parasite needs chemical (lipid/nutrient) in cat intestines for sex
    Toxoplasma gondii is a microbial parasite that infects humans and but needs cats to complete its full life cycle. New research shows why: the sexual phase of the parasite's life cycle requires linoleic acid, a nutrient/lipid found at uniquely high levels in the felines, because cats lack a key enzyme for breaking it down.

  3. Of quirky channels and a fond farewell

    This final installment of Generally Physiological concerns F-selective channels, a surprising role for a tryptophan in determining channel identity, and a farewell note from the Executive Editor of The Journal of General Physiology.

(a) Bordetella pertussis...



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