Interstellar biological experiments could aid human space travel

If humans are to live in outer space for years at a time, it’s important to understand how the microbes in and on their bodies are affected by space conditions. Humans have trouble performing the most basic tasks when in space thanks to microgravity and they must wear protective gear to safeguard them from the interstellar radiation. But how do microbes experience these effects that aren’t present on Earth?

Radiation-resistant E. coli evolved in the lab give view into DNA repair

In a study published online this month in the Journal of Bacteriology, biochemistry professor Michael Cox and his team describe blasting E. coli bacteria with ionizing radiation once a week, causing the bacteria to become radiation resistant. In doing so, they have uncovered genetic mutations and mechanisms underlying this resistance.

Chasing the tail: Biochemists zone in on bacterial transporter’s tip as its secret to antibiotic resistance

Professor Henzler-Wildman and her team have found that proton and drug movements are not as strictly coupled as they thought in EmrE. This transporter can actually also move drugs and protons across the membrane in the same direction, as well as the opposite direction — introducing the option of moving molecules both into or out of the cell.