Categories
Science News

An important discovery was made about trypanosomes, parasites that cause serious diseases

“Elusive” proteins have been defined as those identified by a group of researchers at the University of Alberta, a discovery that could lead to new therapies that are less painful and more efficient with regard to African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease.

In the study, published in the Life Science Alliance, the discovery of the PEX3 protein is described. Until this study it was believed that this protein did not exist in the trypanosome, a kind of parasite that leads to various infections as well as to the aforementioned diseases.

This protein is an essential component for many living things, including humans as well as the trypanosomes themselves. Its task is to manage peroxisomes, particular cells that break down fatty acids and amino acids, an essential process to obtain energy.

The interruption of the action of PEX3 in the parasites could in fact be a more than efficient method to kill them without damaging the patient.

Rick Rachubinski, cell biologist and one of the authors of the study together with colleagues Hiren Banerjee and Barbara Knobloch, commented on the discovery: “Finding PEX3 in trypanosomes was very difficult. People have been looking for years and couldn’t find it. Some people said it didn’t exist, that it was a different mechanism, but we thought the simplest answer was that we hadn’t found it yet.”

Categories
Science News

The world’s first floating nuclear power plant starts traveling to the Arctic

The first floating nuclear reactor in the world, built by Russia, began its journey in the Arctic Sea on Friday amid the growing concern of environmentalists who have already called this sort of floating nuclear power plant the “Chernobyl on the ice” or the “Titanic nuclear.”

This floating nuclear power plant, named Akademik Lomonosov, began its journey through the Arctic with its cargo of nuclear fuel. It left the port of Murmansk and made his way into the sea, among the ice, starting a journey of more than 3000 miles to reach Pevek, a city located in the Siberian region of Chukotka.

Here it should replace a fixed nuclear power plant that will soon be closed down and a coal-fired power plant that has been closed for some time. Its job will mainly be to supply energy to the oil platforms in the Arctic. According to the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, this is the best solution to build a nuclear power plant in the Arctic area of ​​the country.

In this region, in fact, consisting essentially of isolated places with almost always frozen ground, a “classic” power plant would not be very simple to build. The new nuclear power plant will help Russia in “carrying out large infrastructure projects,” as declared by the agency itself.

Statements that have certainly not dampened the complaints launched by environmental groups that fear for the Arctic environment, already put to the test in recent years due to the melting of ice and global warming. A nuclear accident on this floating platform would cause a radioactive wave and according to environmentalists themselves, such a power plant would be more vulnerable to atmospheric agents, particularly storms.

“A floating nuclear power plant is too risky and too expensive to produce electricity,” Rashid Alimov, a Greenpeace representative in Russia, told AFP.