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Homology modeling of clinically-relevant rilpivirine-resistant HIV-RT variants identifies novel rilpivirine analogs with retained binding affinity against NNRTI-resistant HIV mutations

Luk et al. | Jan 24, 2022

Homology modeling of clinically-relevant rilpivirine-resistant HIV-RT variants identifies novel rilpivirine analogs with retained binding affinity against NNRTI-resistant HIV mutations

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which affects tens of millions of individuals worldwide, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). While there is currently no cure for HIV, the development of small molecule antiretroviral agents has greatly improved the prognosis of infected individuals, especially in developed countries. Here, the authors employ homology modeling and molecular docking towards the identification of novel rilpivirine analogs that retain high binding affinity to clinically relevant rilpivirine-resistant mutations of the HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme.

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Firearm-purchase laws that limit the number of guns on the market reduce gun homicides in the South Side of Chicago

Krishnan et al. | Jan 24, 2022

Firearm-purchase laws that limit the number of guns on the market reduce gun homicides in the South Side of Chicago

Gun violence has been a serious issue in the South Side of Chicago for a long time. To intervene, regulators have passed legislation they hoped to curb -if not completely eradicate- the issue. However, there is little analysis done on how effective the various laws have been at reducing gun violence. Here the authors explore the association between firearm purchase laws passed between 1993-2018 and the incidence of gun homicide in Chicago's South Side. Their analysis suggests that some laws have been more effective than others, while some might have exacerbated the issue. However, they do not consider other contributing factors, which makes it difficult to prove causation without further investigation.

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Are alkaline spices the future of antibiotics?

Jani et al. | Jan 23, 2022

Are alkaline spices the future of antibiotics?

The authors experimented with several commonly available alkaline spices (turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon) to study their antimicrobial properties, hypothesizing that alkaline spices would have antimicrobial activity. Results showed a zone of inhibition of bacterial growth, with the largest zone of inhibition being around turmeric, followed by cayenne pepper, and the smallest around cinnamon. These results are impactful, as common alkaline spices generally do show antibacterial properties and both bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects correlated with degree of alkalinity.

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Fire and dry grass: Effects of Pennisetum villosum on a California native, Nassella pulchra, in drought times

Chang et al. | Jan 23, 2022

Fire and dry grass: Effects of <i>Pennisetum villosum</i> on a California native, <i>Nassella pulchra</i>, in drought times

Invasive species pose a significant threat to many ecosystems, whether by outcompeting native species and disturbing food webs, or through increasing risks of natural disasters like flooding and wildfires. The ornamental grass species Pennisetum villosum R. Br. was previously identified by the California Invasive Plant Council as being potentially invasive; this experiment was conducted to determine if P. villosum displays characteristics of an invasive species when grown in a California chaparral environment. Reults found that in both conditions, the two species had similar germination rates, and that P. villosum grew significantly larger than N. pulchra for around 95 days.

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A study on the stretching behavior of rubber bands

Davuluri et al. | Jan 18, 2022

A study on the stretching behavior of rubber bands

Here, the authors considered the stretching behavior of rubber bands by exposing the rubber bands to increasing loads and measuring their stretch response. They found that a linear stretch response was observed for intermediate loading steps, but this behavior was lost at lower or higher loads, deviating from Hooke's Law. The authors suggest that studies such as these can be used to evaluate other visco-elastic structures.

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The comparative effect of remote instruction on students and teachers

Ng et al. | Jan 16, 2022

The comparative effect of remote instruction on students and teachers

In this study, high school students and teachers responded to a survey consisting of Likert-type scale, multiple-choice, and open-ended questions regarding various aspects of remote instruction. After analyzing the data collected, they found that remote learning impacted high school students academically and socially. Students took longer to complete assignments, and both students and teachers felt that students do not learn as much in remote learning compared to in-person instruction. However, most high school students demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the topics, and an overall negative impact on students' grades was not detected.

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In silico modeling of emodin’s interactions with serine/threonine kinases and chitosan derivatives

Suresh et al. | Jan 10, 2022

<i>In silico</i> modeling of emodin’s interactions with serine/threonine kinases and chitosan derivatives

Here, through protein-ligand docking, the authors investigated the effect of the interaction of emodin with serine/threonine kinases, a subclass of kinases that is overexpressed in many cancers, which is implicated in phosphorylation cascades. Through molecular dynamics theyfound that emodin forms favorable interactions with chitosan and chitosan PEG (polyethylene glycol) copolymers, which could aid in loading drugs into nanoparticles (NPs) for targeted delivery to cancerous tissue. Both polymers demonstrated reasonable entrapment efficiencies, which encourages experimental exploration of emodin through targeted drug delivery vehicles and their anticancer activity.

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