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Living organisms are under constant attack by viruses and have evolved an effective set of weapons to fight them. Bacteria and archaea take several approaches. They have several hardwired systems that fight the most common attackers. For instance, restriction enzymes stand ready to cut up the DNA of invading viruses. They also have a more adaptive system, akin to our own immune system, that can be tuned to protect against the viruses that are present at any given time. This system, termed CRISPR-Cas, stores information on current threats and provides the weapons to destroy them.Full Article
Scientists are exploring larger and larger molecular machines by combining the many tools of integrative structural biology. The nuclear pore complex has been a subject of this study for many years, revealing an increasingly detailed view. It is a challenging subject for many reasons: it is highly dynamic as it performs its duty of transporting molecules in and out of the nucleus, and by molecular standards, it is huge, comprised of over 450 protein subunits. The complex has been studied extensively by electron microscopy, revealing a characteristic eight-fold symmetric ring crossing the nuclear membrane (shown here from entry EMD2444 at the EMDataBank). More recently, researchers are determining the atomic structures of the individual components, and using them to reconstruct the whole complex. Full Article | Archive | PSI Structural Biology Knowledgebase
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