New method reveals how proteins stabilize the cell surface

To withstand external mechanical stress and handle trafficking of various substances, a cell needs to adjust its surrounding membrane. This is done through small indentations on the cell surface called caveolae. In order to stabilize its membrane, cells use the protein EHD2, which can be turned on and off to alternate between an inactive closed form and an active open form. The discovery, made by Umeå University researchers and colleagues, was recently published in the journal PNAS.

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A problem shared can be a problem doubled

Customers perceive one and the same service problem very differently, depending on whether they are affected as individuals or in a group. Service failures that affect a group of customers cause them to be more annoyed with the provider than problems that impact an individual, according to a recent study of economists at University of Jena (Germany).

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Honey bee parasite genome sequenced to aid in fight against bee colony destruction

Published today in the open-access journal GigaScience is an article that presents the genome of a parasitic mite, Tropilaelaps mercedesae, that infects bee colonies, which are facing wide-spread devastation across the entire world. The research was carried out by an international team of researchers at Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Liverpool University and focused on mites as they are one of the major threats to honey bee colonies. The work revealed that there were specific features in the T. mercedesae mite genome that had been shaped by their interaction with honey bees, and that current mechanisms to control mites are unlikely to be useful for T. mercedesae. The genome sequence and findings provide excellent resources for identifying gene-based mite control strategies and understanding mite biology.

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Reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions—promotion or steering?

Policy interventions to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions have a variety of effects on the economy and on households. A study carried out as part of the National Research Programme "Managing Energy Consumption" (NRP 71) has provided the first detailed impact assessment of the efficiency and social balance of the energy policy measures "steering" and "promotion".

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How proteins find one another

Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been studying two proteins that play a vital role in many bodily processes. The aim of the research was to establish how G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and arrestin form complexes. The human GPCR family consists of nearly one thousand different types of membrane proteins, with the majority involved in sensory and neuronal processes. Results from this research, which has been published in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications, identify a previously unknown binding element critical to the arrestin - GPCR interaction.

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Blood ties fuel cooperation among species, not survival instinct

Cooperative breeding, when adults in a group team up to care for offspring, is not a survival strategy for animals living in extreme environments. It is instead a natural result of monogamous relationships reinforcing stronger genetic bonds in family groups. Siblings with full biological ties are more likely than others to stay with their family and help day to day, a new Oxford University study has found.

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