NOTE TO EDITORS: Brookhaven Spotlights is issued periodically to bring you up to date on some of the latest newsworthy developments at the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory. This issue is devoted to a sampling of research at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven, the worlds most frequently used facility for scientific research using x-rays, ultraviolet light, and infrared light. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the operation of the NSLS.
Seeing the Structure of the Anthrax Toxins Final Component Working at the NSLS, scientists from the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Chicagos Ben-May Institute for Cancer Research have determined the structure of anthraxs third and last component, a protein called edema factor (EF). The structure of EF reveals the first steps of the process by which this protein inhibits the immune response of a person who has inhaled anthrax: EF binds to a protein called calmodulin which is abundant in the host cell prompting EF to produce chemicals that inhibit the immune response. Although the researchers do not yet have a complete understanding of how EF allows anthrax to infect host cells, this work may ultimately lead to new antibiotics.
Reducing Sulfur Dioxide Emissions in the Air Sulfur dioxide, a major air pollutant released by power plants, factories and cars, comes from sulfur impurities present in fossil fuels that combine with oxygen during combustion. To reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide in the air, a team of Brookhaven scientists is designing and testing compounds that take sulfur out of fossil fuels before they are processed to produce energy. The scientists found that very promising compounds made of two metals, called bimetallics, successfully remove most of the sulfur from the oil. By using x-rays and ultraviolet light produced by the NSLS, the researchers found that bimetallics made of molybdenum plus either cobalt,
Contact: Diane Greenberg
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory