Molecular biophysics

Molecular biophysics is the study of the physical principles governing biomolecular systems. It seeks to explain biological function in terms of molecular structure, dynamics and organization, from single molecules to supramolecular structures.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    The rare blood group Dantu is known to protect against severe malaria, and a mechanism is proposed here: Dantu red blood cells have a high membrane tension that prevents invasion by malaria parasites.

    • Silvia N. Kariuki
    • , Alejandro Marin-Menendez
    • , Viola Introini
    • , Benjamin J. Ravenhill
    • , Yen-Chun Lin
    • , Alex Macharia
    • , Johnstone Makale
    • , Metrine Tendwa
    • , Wilfred Nyamu
    • , Jurij Kotar
    • , Manuela Carrasquilla
    • , J. Alexandra Rowe
    • , Kirk Rockett
    • , Dominic Kwiatkowski
    • , Michael P. Weekes
    • , Pietro Cicuta
    • , Thomas N. Williams
    •  & Julian C. Rayner
    Nature, 1-5
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Heat flux is well understood on macroscopic scales, however when the system size is reduced, novel phenomena are induced by fluctuations. Here, the authors demonstrate phonon heat transport between two nanomechanical resonators coupled by cavity enhanced interactions exhibiting an oscillating heat flux.

    • Cheng Yang
    • , Xinrui Wei
    • , Jiteng Sheng
    •  & Haibin Wu
  • Reviews |

    The self-assembly of biomimetic peptides can mimic complex natural systems involving whole proteins. This Review describes how synthetic peptides afford tunable scaffolds for biomineralization, drug delivery and tissue growth.

    • Aviad Levin
    • , Tuuli A. Hakala
    • , Lee Schnaider
    • , Gonçalo J. L. Bernardes
    • , Ehud Gazit
    •  & Tuomas P. J. Knowles
  • Research |

    Wei et al. show that clusters of unphosphorylated RNA polymerase II seed the nucleation of phase-separated condensates of TAF15, which further recruit RNA polymerase II to amplify transcriptional activation.

    • Ming-Tzo Wei
    • , Yi-Che Chang
    • , Shunsuke F. Shimobayashi
    • , Yongdae Shin
    • , Amy R. Strom
    •  & Clifford P. Brangwynne
  • Research
    | Open Access

    SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds host ACE2 for virus entry. Here, the authors determine kinetic and thermodynamic properties of this interaction using atomic force microscopy, develop peptides that inhibit binding and suggest existence of additional attachment factors.

    • Jinsung Yang
    • , Simon J. L. Petitjean
    • , Melanie Koehler
    • , Qingrong Zhang
    • , Andra C. Dumitru
    • , Wenzhang Chen
    • , Sylvie Derclaye
    • , Stéphane P. Vincent
    • , Patrice Soumillion
    •  & David Alsteens

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    Li, W., Hu, J., Shi, B. et al. showed that the appropriate phase separation property of the protein AKAP95 was required for its regulation of splicing and expression of cancer-related genes, thereby contributing to tumorigenesis.

    • Ulrike Harjes
  • Comments and Opinion
    | Open Access

    Chemical reaction networks (CRNs) are prototypical complex systems because reactions are nonlinear and connected in intricate ways, and they are also essential to understand living systems. Here, the author discusses how recent developments in nonequilibrium thermodynamics provide new insight on how CRNs process energy and perform sophisticated tasks, and describes open challenges in the field.

    • Massimiliano Esposito
  • News and Views |

    Is a nanoscale hydrophobic bowl wet or dry when dissolved in water? It turns out that the answer depends on the architecture of its rim. A molecular host decorated with four methyl groups around its rim pointing inward, rather than up, has now been shown to expel water from the bowl, making it dry and sticky.

    • Shekhar Garde
    Nature Chemistry 12, 587-588
  • News and Views |

    Two independent studies describe the discovery of structurally pure cubic ice Ic made from either ice XVII or a high-pressure hydrogen hydrate.

    • Christoph G. Salzmann
    •  & Benjamin J. Murray
    Nature Materials 19, 586-587