Highlights of recent methods papers

Each month, the editorial team gets together to select papers describing exciting new methods to cover in short news pieces in the Research Highlights section of the journal. We comb the recent literature in top general journals like Nature, Science and Cell, as well as top specialized journals in various subject areas, and we even take suggestions from authors! Unfortunately, we cannot cover all of the interesting methods papers we find, so each month I will highlight these papers, which didn’t quite make the cut, in Methagora.  Read more

Next-next DNA sequencing

While the technology feature, “DNA sequencing: generation next-next”, was at press, Pacific Biosciences of Menlo Park, California stunned the community with their announcement of a single molecule sequencing technology they claim will provide a complete human genome in 15 minutes by the year 2013. Although Pacific Biosciences was founded in 2004, the company had been very ‘hush hush’ about their technology development. But that veil of secrecy was lifted during the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting held February 6th to 9th at Marco Island, Florida where Stephen Turner, chief technology officer, presented the first preliminary data on the system.  Read more

Structural genomics in the spotlight

Check out Nature Methods’ February 2008 issue, featuring several methodological aspects of structural genomics and structural biology. A Commentary provides an overview of the efforts of the US-based Protein Structure Initiative, a Review from multiple, worldwide structural genomics consortia provides a consensus strategy for expressing and purifying recombinant proteins, a Perspective provides a user-friendly guide to protein crystallization, and the Technology Feature shows a day in the life of a structural genomics facility. Additionally, the Editorial discusses some of the criticisms that structural genomics efforts have faced, as well as some of the beneficial results.  Read more

Focusing in on mass spectrometry

Almost every chemist has used mass spectrometry at some point at some point in his or her scientific life, but did you know about all of its cool applications in the study of proteomics? This field has been growing by leaps and bounds as more and more biologists discover the power of mass spectrometry. Check out Nature Methods’ special Focus issue on mass spectrometry in proteomics applications.  Read more

Focusing in on mass spectrometry

Almost every chemist has used mass spectrometry at some point at some point in his or her scientific life, but did you know about all of its cool applications in the study of proteomics? This field has been growing by leaps and bounds as more and more biologists discover the power of mass spectrometry. Check out Nature Methods’ special Focus issue on mass spectrometry in proteomics applications.  Read more

Mass spectrometry in focus

Mass spectrometry has become the most powerful tool for proteomics, owing to its high-throughput capacity and molecular information yield. However, it is perhaps under-utilized in more traditional cell biology research, since historically, it was a tool developed by and for chemists. Our October issue celebrates this technology and its established and emerging biological applications with a special Focus on mass spectrometry in proteomics applications.  Read more

Enzymes, macrocycles, and fluorescent dyes, oh my!

In the August issue of Nature Methods, which just came out on Monday, we have an exciting and decidedly chemistry-based paper from Werner Nau and colleagues at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (and it even made the cover!). The authors describe a new concept for enzyme assays using a macrocycle as a receptor for a fluorescent dye and for an enzyme product. When the enzyme arrives on the scene and begins converting the substrate (which does not interact with the macrocycle) to product, the product starts displacing the fluorescent dye from the macrocycle, causing a switch-on in fluorescence. Of course, the macrocycle and dye need to be carefully chosen for each application such that the dye is out-competed by the enzyme product, but once a suitable pair is found, it provides a simple and convenient readout for enzyme activity.  Read more

Enzymes, macrocycles, and fluorescent dyes, oh my!

In the August issue of Nature Methods, which just came out on Monday, we have an exciting and decidedly chemistry-based paper from Werner Nau and colleagues at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (and it even made the cover!). The authors describe a new concept for enzyme assays using a macrocycle as a receptor for a fluorescent dye and for an enzyme product. When the enzyme arrives on the scene and begins converting the substrate (which does not interact with the macrocycle) to product, the product starts displacing the fluorescent dye from the macrocycle, causing a switch-on in fluorescence. Of course, the macrocycle and dye need to be carefully chosen for each application such that the dye is out-competed by the enzyme product, but once a suitable pair is found, it provides a simple and convenient readout for enzyme activity.  Read more