Cell biology: Calcium ‘accelerator’ keeps cell power supply going

Ethical Markets Nature/Biomimicry

Cell biology: Calcium ‘accelerator’ keeps cell power supply going

Posted: 25 Nov 2012 04:30 PM PST

Scientists have moved another step closer to solving a decades-long mystery of how the flow of calcium into the cell’s power source, the mitochondria, is controlled. By shutting down 50 genes, one at a time, they have identified a protein, MCUR1, that is part of an elaborate channel pore system and acts as an accelerator to help regulate calcium coming into the mitochondria.

Engineering plants for biofuels

Posted: 25 Nov 2012 04:28 PM PST

With increasing demands for sustainable energy, being able to cost-efficiently produce biofuels from plant biomass is more important than ever. However, lignin and hemicelluloses present in certain plants mean that they cannot be easily converted into biofuels. A new study appears to have solved this problem, using gene manipulation techniques to engineer plants that can be more easily broken down into biofuels.