Heavy metal binding domain in a cysteine-rich protein may be sea snail adaptation to metal stress

A special type of small sulfur-rich protein, metallothioneins, have an extraordinary capability for binding heavy metals. An international team of scientists has now discovered that the marine common periwinkle, which is widely considered a delicacy, contains the largest version of the protein found yet, with one additional cadmium-binding domain and a one-third higher detoxification capacity. As they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this feature may help the snail survive in heavy-metal-polluted environments.

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The development of amphibians and reptiles through twelve million years of geological history

Together with an international team, Senckenberg scientist Professor Dr. Madelaine Böhme studied the development of the amphibian and reptile fauna in Western Siberia during the past twelve million years. In their study, published today in the scientific journal Peer J, the scientists demonstrate that the species diversity of both groups of animals was noticeably higher in the past than it is today. Among others, for the first time the researchers discovered an Asiatic representative of the extinct frog family Palaeobatrachidae as well as evidence of a giant salamander with a length of up to 1.80 meters.

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The world’s first international race for molecular cars, the Nanocar Race

Nanocars will compete for the first time ever during an international molecule-car race on April 28-29, 2017 in Toulouse (south-western France). The vehicles, which consist of a few hundred atoms, will be powered by minute electrical pulses during the 36 hours of the race, in which they must navigate a racecourse made of gold atoms, and measuring a maximum of a 100 nanometers in length. They will square off beneath the four tips of a unique microscope located at the CNRS's Centre d'élaboration de matériaux et d'études structurales (CEMES) in Toulouse. The race, which was organized by the CNRS, is first and foremost a scientific and technological challenge, and will be broadcast live on the YouTube Nanocar Race channel. Beyond the competition, the overarching objective is to advance research in the observation and control of molecule-machines.

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