Engineering yeast to produce medicines, and the mechanism of anaesthetic action.
In this episode:
00:44 Making medicine with yeast
The tropane alkaloids are an important class of medicine, but they are produced agriculturally leaving them vulnerable to extreme weather and world events. Now, researchers have engineered yeast to produce these important molecules. Research Article: Srinivasan and Smolke
We discuss the complex story of immunity to COVID-19, and how this may affect vaccine development. News Feature: What the immune response to the coronavirus says about the prospects for a vaccine
16:33 Research Highlights
The neurological reason for overindulgence, and the bacteria that harness copper electrodes. Research Highlight: The brain circuit that encourages eating for pleasure; Research Highlight: Microbes with mettle build their own electrical ‘wires’
19:07 The molecular mechanisms of general anaesthetics
Despite over a century of use, there’s a lot we don’t know about how anaesthetics function. This week, researchers have identified how some of them they bind to a specific neuronal receptor. Research Article: Kim et al.
26:34 Briefing Chat
Whilst the Nature Briefing is on its summer holidays, we take a look at some other science from around the web. This time we discuss Elon Musk’s latest showcase of a brain-chip, and the physics behind how boats can float upside down on levitating liquid. New Scientist: Elon Musk demonstrated a Neuralink brain implant in a live pig; Business Insider: Elon Musk's AI brain chip company Neuralink is doing its first live tech demo on Friday. Here's what we know so far about the wild science behind it.; Research Article: Apffel et al.; Video: Upside down boats defy gravity