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In the sea slug's defense against lobsters, confusion is key

Like many other marine creatures, Aplysia, a common sea slug, enlists chemical defenses against its predators, but the mechanisms by which such chemical attacks actually work against their intended targets are not well understood by researchers. New work has now shown that such chemical defenses can involve modes of trickery that had not previously been appreciated as components of chemical defen...

SLU researchers uncover direct evidence on how HIV invades healthy cells

Using sophisticated detection methods, researchers at the Saint Louis University Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV) have demonstrated the molecular mechanism by which the HIV virus infects, or integrates, healthy cells. The discovery could lead to new drug treatments for HIV. . .. "Many biological and structural aspects of HIV integration are undefined," said Sibes Bera, Ph.D. "Therefo...

Sea slug mixes chemical defense before firing at predators

When threatened by predators, sea slugs defend themselves by ejecting a potent inky secretion into the water consisting of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and several types of acids. A team of researchers with the Atlanta-based Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) has found that this secretion is produced from normally inert chemicals stored separately in two glands. The discovery, published in th...

Brain region linked to fly slumber

Researchers at Northwestern University have pinpointed a brain area in flies that is crucial to sleep, raising interesting speculation over the purpose of sleep and its possible link with learning and memory. . In a paper to be published June 8 by the journal Nature, a team led by Ravi Allada, assistant professor of neurobiology and physiology, shows that the so-called mushroom bodies are essent...

The secret lives of sea slugs

It turns out that the sea slug isn't really that sluggish after all. So says the first broad field study of this charismatic orange creature's behavior in the wild, which was just published in the April 2006 issue of The Biological Bulletin. . .. Biologists Russell Wyeth and Dennis Willows, of University of Washington's Friday Ha...

How many genes does it take to learn? Lessons from sea slugs

Scientists analyzing the genomics of a marine snail have gotten an unprecedented look at brain mechanisms, discovering that the neural processes in even a simple sea creature are far from sluggish. . At any given time within just a single brain cell of sea slug known as Aplysia, more than 10,000 genes are active, according to scientists writing in Friday's (Dec. 29, 2006) edition of the journal...

Better sludge through metagenomics

Few stop to consider the consequences of their daily ablutions, the washing of clothes, the watering of lawns, and the flush of a toilet. However, wastewater treatment--one of the cornerstones of modern civilization--is the largest microbially-mediated biotechnology process on the planet. When it works, it is a microbial symphony in tune with humanity. When it fails, the consequences can be di...

Scientists discover 5 new species of sea slugs from the Tropical Eastern Pacific

The Tropical Eastern Pacific, a discrete biogeographic region that has an extremely high rate of endemism among its marine organisms, continues to yield a wealth of never-before-described marine animals to visiting scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Alicia Hermosillo, researcher at the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico, and Angel Valdes, assistant curator of...
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