Planets stripped bare by host stars

stripped-planet-credit-peter-devine

See Lundkvist et al (2016) Hot super-Earths stripped by their host stars, Nat Commun, 7, 11201

‘Super Earths’ are roughly 2-10 times more massive than our own planet Earth. Those planets that orbit too close to their host star appear to be blasted with radiation, which strips away the outer layers of their atmospheres.  This was investigated using asteroseismology – a technique that analyses the internal structure of stars.

HIV bounces back against CRISPR

See Wang et al (2016) CRISPR/Cas9-derived mutations both inhibit HIV-1 replication and accelerate viral escape, Cell Reports, 15, 1-9

A promising technique to weaken the HIV virus has in some cases made it stronger! The gene-editing CRISPR technology was used with the intent of cutting the viral genome out of the infected cells. When the viral genome was cut, the cell’s DNA repair mechanisms would patch up the broken DNA sequence by NHEJ. NHEJ is error-prone, and therefore would impair DNA function. However, in some cases this resulted in the emergence of competent viruses that actually replicate faster than before and are also resistant to further CRISPR treatments.

Kindlin-2 is a new actin binding partner

See Bledzka et al (2016) Kindlin-2 directly binds actin and regulates integrin outside-in signalling, J. Cell Biol., 213, 97-108

Kindlins are FERM domain-containing proteins that are already known to bind to integrins and contribute to integrin signalling. Here, the authors demonstrate that kindlin-2 directly binds to actin and is important for actin organization and inducing cell spreading. The actin binding properties of kindling-2 also influences outside-in signalling across integrins.

Written by: Richard Hodge