Lens for a lens
How frogs and certain marine species can regenerate their eye lens when they lose it has been a mystery to scientists for decades. A team of researchers at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, however, has finally been able to explain this natural marvel. During their studies on the Indian frog and the Indian toad, the CCMB researchers — led by Yogendra Sharma — discovered that the animals stock up all the ingredients (proteins called crystallins) necessary for the formation of the lens in the outermost layer of the cornea. Crystallins are structural proteins responsible for transparency of the lens. The work, recently reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, also proved the earlier hypothesis that crystallins (alpha, beta and gamma) play a role in the formation of the lens and the cornea. Unravelling this mechanism further may have significant clinical implication in regenerative biology.
HIV drug resistance
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have developed a mathematical model that would help understand the dynamics of drug resistance in HIV, which many fear may lead to the failure of current antiretroviral therapies for the disease. Though there aren’t any official reports, there are at least a few hundred HIV drug resistant cases in the country. It is known that recombination, a process similar to sexual reproduction in higher organisms, can accelerate the accumulation of resistance mutations by mixing the contents of distinct viral genomes. The work, published last month in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, provides a detailed account of the emergence and growth of recombinant forms of HIV following infection with diverse viral genomes. The model, the scientists hope, would provide a framework for predicting multi-drug resistance in HIV patients.