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Plastids — the light-harvesting machines of plant and algal cells — evolved from cyanobacteria inside a eukaryotic host more than a billion years ago. New data reveal that a mysterious unicellular alga acquired its photosynthetic apparatus much more recently than other eukaryotes, affording a...
Cytokinesis is the final step of cell division and leads to the physical separation of the daughter cells. After the ingression of a cleavage membrane furrow that pinches the mother cell, future daughter cells spend much of the cytokinesis phase connected by an intercellular bridge. Rab proteins...
Food-storing corvids are able to remember which individual saw them store food, and take preventive action that is tailored to that particular competitor's knowledge. This raises the question of whether abilities like ‘theory of mind’ have arisen independently more than once in evolution.
Comparatively little is known about the inherited primate background underlying human cognition, the human cognitive “wild-type.” Yet it is possible to trace the evolution of human cognitive abilities and tendencies by contrasting the skills of our nearest cousins, not just chimpanzees, but...
Secreted Wnt proteins control a diverse array of developmental decisions. A recent analysis of the zebrafish mutant prometheus points to a previously unknown role for Wnts during liver specification.
Background In order for signals generated at the plasma membrane to reach intracellular targets, activated messengers, such as G proteins and phosphoproteins, must diffuse through the cytoplasm. If the deactivators of these messengers, GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) and phosphatases,...
The KiSS-1 gene encodes kisspeptin, the endogenous ligand of the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR54 (1–4) . Recent data indicate that the KiSS-1/GPR54 system is critical for the regulation of reproduction and is required for puberty onset (5–10) . In seasonal breeders, reproduction is tightly...
Though bacteria are predominantly asexual, the genetic information in their genomes can be expanded and modified through mechanisms that introduce DNA from outside sources. Bacterial sex differs from that of eukaryotes in that it is unidirectional and does not involve gamete fusion or...
The Tus– Ter protein–DNA complex of Escherichia coli blocks progression of DNA replication from only one direction at the replication terminus. As the replication fork helicase unwinds one side of Ter , a conserved cytosine flips out of the duplex and binds to Tus, thereby creating a locked...
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