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Science Highlights

How Prion-like domains Drive Liquid-Liquid Phase Transitions in Cells

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) provides a way for cells to create membraneless micro-environments (“condensates”) that have been proposed to be involved in diverse cellular processes including stress responses, RNA splicing, mitosis, chromatin organization, and the clustering of receptors at membranes. Proteins driving LLPS often contain intrinsically disordered prion like domains (PLD’s) that appear to be necessary and sufficient to produce LLPS. In a recent paper in the journal Science, researchers used a combination of NMR, multiscale simulations and Size Exclusion Chromatography SAXS experiments at BioCAT to discover sequence features that determine the phase behavior of PLD’s.

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Sarcomere Structure and Nemaline Myopathy

Nemaline myopathy (NM) is one of the most common congenital non-dystrophic myopathies and is characterized by severe hypotonia, muscle weakness, feeding difficulties, respiratory failure, and the presence of nemaline bodies (rods) in skeletal muscle biopsies. One form of nemaline myopathy is caused by mutations in the KBTBD13 (NEM6) gene. In this paper the authors show that the impaired muscle relaxation kinetics in NEM6 patients are caused by structural changes in the thin filament, a sarcomeric microstructure.

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Probing the Powering of Contractions in Heart Failure

Current treatments can slow progression of heart failure, but do not address the underlying issues, including specific problems that cause systolic heart failure. In this condition, the heart doesn’t contract vigorously enough in pushing blood into the body’s circulation. But findings at nanometer and millisecond scales, based upon experimental data collected at BioCAT may help improve design of therapies directed at motor proteins to rescue failing hearts.

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BioCAT at Biophysics 2020 in San Diego

Please come and visit us at booth number 430 at the Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society February 15-19 for swag and good conversation.

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Everything BioSAXS 5 workshop summary

BioCAT ran its 5th annual Everything BioSAXS workshop from November 5-7th, 2019. With 13 on-site participants and 24 remote participants the workshop was a resounding success.

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BioCAT user Joshua Riback wins Rosland Franklin Investigator Award

Joshua Riback, a BioCAT user in his fifth year of graduate studies at the University of Chicago, was recognized for his work using SEC-SAXS at BioCAT to study biophysical interactions.

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