• The fly on the wall: ever wondered how it lands there?

    A new study from the National Centre of Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, has thrown some light on the mystery of how flies can land on vertical and upside-down surfaces. Sanjay Sane’s group at NCBS has shown that fly landing maneuvers have two distinct modules of behavior – deceleration and leg extension. The team has found that deceleration or slowing down, is like a reflex action, and sets in at a distance proportional to the speed of flight. In other words, at higher flight speeds, deceleration sets in earlier and further away from the landing surface.

  • Subtle changes, big effects

    Scientists have recently discovered the mechanism by which a minuscule change in 3 atoms in a protein molecule can affect immune signaling in cells. This ‘butterfly effect’ is used by the bacterium, Shigella flexneri, to survive within the host cells that it infects. Ranabir Das’ team at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, has found that a tiny change in the protein UBC13, caused by a bacterial enzyme, creates a cascade of small atomic alterations that add up until they prevent UBC13 from binding to a partner protein, TRAF6.

  • Cell surface organization at the nanometer scale

    How do cell membranes integrate mechanical and chemical signals in response to activated sensors? Satyajit Mayor’s group at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, has published a new study that sheds light on this process. The team has shown that when a signal for cell migration activates sensors on the cell membrane, specific proteins are clustered together on the cell surface to form ‘nanodomains’. Nanodomain formation is crucial for cell migration, and involves both chemical and mechanical signals.

    A battle rages on in silence.

  • A matter of fine balance: electrical balance in the brain

    Image: Despite more than a million fold difference in the light intensity, our brains enable us to see the same scene in broad daylight and a dim night by the process of normalization. This article shows how brains "can" perform normalization by precisely balancing two equal and opposite forces - excitation and inhibition.

    Artist of the graphic: Hrishikesh Nambisan

     

  • A molecular rheostat for insulin signalling

    A mutant fruitfly strain studied by researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, may hold the key to understanding what goes wrong with insulin signalling in type-2 diabetes. When raised on a high-sugar diet, normal flies show a 25% increase in blood sugar levels; but the mutant flies—which lack the enzyme PIP4K (short for phosphatidylinositol 5 phosphate 4-kinase)— have normal blood sugar levels when raised on a high-sugar diet.

  • A window into the mind: discovering how antipsychotic drugs affect the brain

    Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, have developed a mouse model for detecting cells that respond to antipsychotic drugs in live brain tissues. Using this, the team have also discovered that the antipsychotics Clozapine and Olanzapine affect ependymal cells—a class of brain cells responsible for producing cerebrospinal fluid—previously unknown to be affected by antipsychotics.

  • A molecular pit crew responsible for refuelling in signalling cells

    Raghu Padinjat’s group from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore

  • The scent of a man: what odors do female blackbuck find enticing in a male?

         It is midday in mid-April, and the air shimmers with heat. From the shelter of an acacia tree, one of the few spots of shade in the flat, slightly undulating land, a small group of scientists intently observe a congregation of male blackbuck sitting or standing somnolently atop its own pile of odoriferous dung.

  • Dr. Kamaljit Bawa awarded the Linnean Medal

    The Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster (BLiSc) congratulates Kamaljit Bawa on being awarded the Linnean Medal for 2018!

    The Linnean Medal is awarded every year by the Linnean Society of London to biologists as an expression of the Society’s esteem and appreciation of the awardees’ service to science.

  • An integrated approach to understanding mental illnesses: doctors & scientists collaborate to study neuropsychiatric disorders

    With nearly 2 –3% of the population of youngsters and adults (between the ages of 15–59 years) at risk of developing neuropsychiatric diseases, India needs to focus on understanding mental disorders.

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