Biosciences’ Abby Dernburg and Eva Nogales–both of whom are also UC Berkeley professors and HHMI Investigators–have been selected as 2017 Fellows of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon ASCB members by their peers. The award is a lifetime recognition of meritorious efforts to advance cell biology and/or its applications, work in service to the Society, and ongoing loyalty to ASCB.More »
Biosciences’ Thomas Budinger has been elected by the IEEE Board of Directors to receive the 2018 IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology for “pioneering contributions to tomographic radiotracer imaging.” An affiliate scientist in the Molecular Biology & Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division and recalled professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley, Budinger noted that the cited work was made possible by support from the DOE and the contributions of his principal colleagues Stephen Derenzo (MBIB), Grant Gullberg (MBIB), Ronald Huesman (emeritus, Life Sciences), and William Jagust (MBIB/UC Berkeley). The award, sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, was established in 2009 and is given annually for exceptional contributions to technologies and applications benefitting healthcare, medicine, and the health sciences. A gold medal, bronze replica, certificate, and honorarium will be presented to Budinger at the IEEE Honors Ceremony to be held in conjunction with the Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit in the spring.
Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley biologists used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to resolve the structure of a protein complex, called an inflammasome, that is assembled within cells in response to incursion by a pathogen and functions as a beacon to summon immune system support. Inflammasome assembly is initiated when a protein called NAIP5 latches onto a flagellin molecule—a piece of the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves. Then several copies of another protein, NLRC4, join in to form the ring-shaped protein cluster. The researchers, led by Eva Nogales in Biosciences’ Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division and Russell Vance in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology at UCB, found that flagellin is in contact with six different parts of NAIP5. They further demonstrated that the multiple contact sites help prevent bacteria with minor mutations from eluding detection. The study was published in the journal Science. Read more in the Berkeley Lab News Center.
Engineering artificial nanofactories modeled on bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) will require a chain of “logistical” vehicles to deliver the products. Making progress on that front, scientists affiliated with Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division and the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory have detailed the structure and function of a BMC-associated protein involved in electron transfer, a fundamental part of the assembly line that leads to the production of chemical compounds. The study, published in the journal Biochemistry, was led by Cheryl Kerfeld; Marcus Sutter also collaborated on the project. Read more from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab.
Found in muddy soils near hot springs, Heliobacterium modesticaldum is the simplest bacterium known to be able to drive photosynthesis. Its photosynthesis reaction centers are thought to resemble the earliest common ancestor of all photosynthesis complexes, which evolved around three billion years ago. Now, for the first time, a team led by researchers from Arizona State University has obtained a near-atomic resolution (2.2 Å) structure of the membrane protein at the heart of H. modesticaldum’s photosynthetic reaction center using X-ray crystallography data collected at ALS Beamline 8.2.1. The structure gives researchers a new perspective on the early evolution of photosynthesis. Read more in this ALS Science Brief.