December, 2006

Headline News Innovation and Development

Applied Technology

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60% of Advanced Plant Species Realized Ex-situ Conservation in China

A seminar with the theme of ¡°Science, Ecology and Harmoniousness¡± was held recently in Hangzhou. At the seminar, Huang Hongwen, Director of the Wuhan Botanical Garden, CAS, introduced that China had made great progress over the past five years in the ex-situ conservation for advanced plant species, covering 60 percent of the total. During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, China will continue the efforts to increase such coverage to 80%, which will include more than 24,000 speicies.

Remarkable Progress in Animal Nutrition Research

In the President¡¯s Column in the September 2006 Issue of the Nutrition Notes, publication of the American Society for Nutrition, Stephanie Atkinson said that ¡°What an exhilarating and action-packed initiation into the Presidency of ASN the past 3 months have been!¡± and ¡°this note will try to capture the essence of current happenings¡± including the animal nutrition research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The last decade has witnessed tremendous striking progresses in animal nutrition research in China. A prototype is the impressive achievements by Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Health, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (ISA;, CAS. This laboratory has a highly interactive group of talented young scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students with Dr. Yin Yulong as the team leader, working on amino acid, carbohydrate, and mineral nutrition in monogastric animals and ruminants at molecular, cellular, tissue, and whole-body levels.

Latest Progress at SIMM Reported by PNAS

A recent study by CAS researchers may shed new light on the treatment of the diabetes by making cutting-edge progress on the studies of allosteric process of human glucokinase (GK), which has been published by the latest issue of the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), an international authentic journal. The lead authors, including Zhang Jian and his supervisor Jiang Hualiang, are from the Center for Drug Discovery and Design, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) under the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS.

To investigate the allosteric process of human GK which is more associated with the conformational change from the closed to the superopen state, the researchers designed a series of conventional molecular dynamics (MD) and target MD (TMD) simulations (~30 tracks) in water solutions and performed them on both the wild-type enzyme and its key mutants. In the study, they not only provided in-depth and systematic elaboration of the mechanism of GK allosteric regulation but also explained the action principle of the GK activator in the atom level for the first time. Meanwhile, they discovered that the overall conformational transition includes three stages, and they identified three likely stable intermediate states by free energy scanning and homological analysis for the snapshots throughout the transition pathway. Moreover, the conformational transition feature revealed by the TMD simulations rationalized several important mutagenesis and kinetic data.

Now the researchers are focusing on the development of new medicines against type II diabetes according to the above ?mentioned research results on the allosteric process of GK


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