Using Your Microscope
Heh heh! Love it!
Klebsiella pneumonia with NDM and OXA-48 carbapenemases. Scary stuff!
Miraculin is a taste-modifying protein found in the fruit of Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as miracle berries. By itself, miraculin doesn’t have much of a taste, but after dissolving miraculin on the tongue, sour things like lemons taste sweet. The effects last for up to an hour. Miracle berry pills are available online.
Miraculin doesn’t affect the brain, it operates directly on the taste receptors. Experiments have shown it to have an interesting property: at neutral pH levels, it acts as an antagonist of sweet taste receptors, but in an acidic environment it turns into an agonist. This means that it will actually block the taste of things that are usually sweet, like table sugar or artificial sweeteners like aspartame. However, for some reason, when you add something acidic (sour), the effect changes, strongly activating the sweet receptor, known as hT1R2-hT1R3. Sour things taste sweet, and sweet and sour together tastes really sweet. Scientists hypothesize that the acid donates protons to the hT1R2-hT1R3-bound miraculin, causing it to change shape and go from inactive to active.
A bacterium that turns toxic chemicals into solid gold
These are the characters that illustrate the comic book of life, one chemical at a time.
After the Pluto’s demotion from planet-status, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson received hate mail from thousands of elementary school children. Images via PBS
That last one is adorable! I hope I raise open-minded children like this one day.
An invader cell (orange) is surrounded by macrophages (blue) whose function is to engulf and digest such invader cells. (via)
The father of the 3-domain tree of life has passed away. Here’s to the man who changed the way we see the distribution, diversity and relatedness of life on Earth.
Photograph courtesy Stephanie Mounaud, J. Craig Venter Institute
… fungal Christmas tree is this time a traditional green and topped with a yellow star made with the fungus Talaromyces stipitatus.
Published December 21, 2012