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Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in Anopheles gambiae Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Pham et al. | May 02, 2014

Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in <em>Anopheles gambiae</em> Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Malaria is a major public health issue, especially in developing countries, and vector control is a major facet of malaria eradication efforts. Recently, sterile insect technique (SIT), or the release of sterile mosquitoes into the wild, has shown significant promise as a method of keeping vector populations under control. In this study, the authors investigate the Anopheles gambiae transglutaminase 3 protein (AgT3), which is essential to the mating of the Anopheles mosquito. They show that an active site mutation is able to abolish the activity of the AgT3 enzyme and propose it as a potential target for chemosterilant inhibitors.

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Sports Are Not Colorblind: The Role of Race and Segregation in NFL Positions

Coleman et al. | Oct 23, 2018

Sports Are Not Colorblind: The Role of Race and Segregation in NFL Positions

In this study, the authors conducted a statistical investigation into the history of position-based racial segregation in the NFL. Specifically, they focused on the cornerback position, which they hypothesized would be occupied disproportionately by black players due to their historical stereotyping as more suitable for positions requiring extreme athletic ability. Using publicly available datasets on the demographics of NFL players over the past several decades, they confirmed their hypothesis that the cornerback position is skewed towards black players. They additionally discovered that, unlike in the quarterback position, this trend has shown no sign of decreasing over time.

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Aggression of Carcharhinus leucas and Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos towards humans

Mignone et al. | May 11, 2021

Aggression of <i>Carcharhinus leucas</i> and <i>Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos</i> towards humans

This paper presents findings on Carcharhinus leucas (bull shark) and Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (grey reef shark) aggression towards humans at Beqa Adventure Divers in Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji. We hypothesized that grey reef sharks would receive more prods than bull sharks because grey reef sharks are typically more aggressive than bull sharks. The results supported our hypothesis, as an individual grey reef shark received 2.44 prods on average per feed, while a bull shark had an average of 0.61. These findings are meaningful not only to the world’s general understanding of shark aggression, but also to human protection against grey reef sharks as well as public education on bull sharks and the conservation of the species.

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Investigation of Everyday Locations for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Maggio et al. | Dec 12, 2019

Investigation of Everyday Locations for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Cambridge, Massachusetts

In this study, the authors investigate whether antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be found in everyday locations. To do this, they collected samples from multiple high-trafficked areas in Cambridge, MA and grew them in the presence and absence of antibiotics. Interestingly, they grew bacterial colonies from many locations' samples, but not all could grow in the presence of ampicillin. These findings are intriguing and relevant given the rising concern about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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The Cilium- and Centrosome-Associated Protein CCDC11 Is Required for Cytokinesis via Midbody Recruitment of the ESCRT- III Membrane Scission Complex Subunit CHMP2A

Ahmed et al. | Mar 14, 2018

The Cilium- and Centrosome-Associated Protein CCDC11 Is Required for Cytokinesis via Midbody Recruitment of the ESCRT- III Membrane Scission Complex Subunit CHMP2A

In order for cells to successfully multiply, a number of proteins are needed to correctly coordinate the replication and division process. In this study, students use fluorescence microscopy and molecular methods to study CCDC11, a protein critical in the formation of cilia. Interestingly, they uncover a new role for CCDC11, critical in the cell division across multiple human cell lines.

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Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Ravi et al. | Aug 22, 2018

Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential  Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two of the fastest growing comorbid diseases in the world. Using publicly available datasets from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Ravi and Lee conducted a differential gene expression analysis using 184 blood samples from either control individuals or individuals with comorbid MDD and PTSD. As a result, the authors identified 253 highly differentially-expressed genes, with enrichment for proteins in the gene ontology group 'Ribosomal Pathway'. These genes may be used as blood-based biomarkers for susceptibility to MDD or PTSD, and to tailor treatments within a personalized medicine regime.

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Behavioral Longevity: The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity on Life Expectancy

Han et al. | Oct 03, 2019

Behavioral Longevity: The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity on Life Expectancy

In this article, the authors look into what is already known about the factor affecting longevity and determine the importance of behavioral factors including alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity on longevity. The authors quantify data from over 150 countries and, interestingly, find that the impact each factor has on longevity is at least in part dependent on the country's economic development status. Overall, they conclude that an average person’s life expectancy can increase by more than 3 years if smoking and alcohol consumption is reduced by a half and weight is decreased by 10%.

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