The development of colonies of cells in choanoflagellates, water-dwelling organisms that feed on bacteria, is triggered by the presence of very low concentrations of a lipid molecule produced by certain types of bacteria.
Biochemical and genetic tests have revealed that a liver protein called NTCP is a functional receptor for hepatitis B and D viruses, which should lead to an improved understanding of the infections caused by these viruses and assist the development of new intervention strategies.
A genome-organizing protein that is present only in the olfactory system of mice has been found to orchestrate changes in the relative numbers of different odor-sensing neurons on the basis of how active these neurons are.
A combination of molecular dynamics simulations and X-ray diffraction data has been used to construct more realistic models of proteins and to provide new insights into their interactions with other proteins and biomolecules.
The ability of epithelial cells to distinguish between domains on opposing cell surfaces within a tissue, a property known as planar cell polarity, relies on proteins and protein complexes directing the traffic of signaling proteins to specific locations on the cell surface membrane.