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Highlights of the Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting
Date:2/6/2012

be to culture deep subsurface microbes in the lab, make nanoscale changes to increase the negative charge of their surfaces, and see if that "tuning" makes them more able to speed up carbonate nucleation.

Presentation 941-Pos, "Tuning microbial surfaces to control carbonate mineralization," is at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Invade and Conquer: A role for nicotine in promoting heart and blood vessel disease: Irritating smoke from cigarettes has long been considered the main risk factor for heart disease. But new research from Brown University in Providence, R.I., shows that nicotine itself, a component of cigarette smoke, can contribute to the disease process by changing cell structure in a way that promotes the invasion of the smooth muscle cells that line blood vessels. When this invasion occurs, it typically gives rise to the formation of vessel-clogging fatty deposits known as plaque the hallmark of heart and blood vessel disease. The study illuminates the multistep process of plaque formation, and suggests a new means of intervening on the process: targeting the cell structures that are changed by nicotine and promote invasion of the smooth muscle lining the vessel wall. If a therapy could prevent, slow, or reverse that step, it would likely interrupt the plaque-production cycle. If confirmed in further studies, the finding appears to question the health benefits of helping people quit smoking by prescribing smokeless nicotine delivery agents such as gum or patches.

Presentation 593-Pos, "Cigarette smoke and nicotine-induced remodeling of actin cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix by vascular smooth muscle cells," is at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Molding the Business End of Neurotoxins: For snakes, spiders, and other venomous creatures, the "business end," or active part, of a venomous toxin is the area on the surface of a protein that is most likely to undergo rapid evolution in response to environmental constraints,
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Contact: Ellen Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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