Probes shed new light on Alzheimer's cause

Rice University researchers have found a way to track the formation of soluble amyloid beta peptide aggregates implicated in the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Probing water's skin

From the wind-whipped surface of the open ocean, to trillions of tiny water drops in clouds, the air-water interface—water's skin— is the site for crucial natural processes, including ocean-atmosphere exchange and cloud ...

Cellular stress defense

Small heat-shock proteins (sHSPs) are molecular chaperones that bind to unfolded proteins to prevent protein aggregation and defend against cellular stress. Mutations in human sHSPs are associated with inherited diseases ...

Self-assembling cyclic protein homo-oligomers

Cyclic proteins that assemble from multiple identical subunits (homo-oligomers) play key roles in many biological processes, including cell signaling and enzymatic catalysis and protein function. Researchers in Berkeley Lab's ...

Using CRISPR as a recording device

(—A small team of researchers at Harvard University has taken another look at CRISPR and has found that it can be used as a recording device of sorts, keeping track of when and where a given bacterium has been ...

Study suggests carbon nanotubes may protect DNA from oxidation

(—Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have provided evidence in the laboratory that single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) may help protect DNA molecules from damage by oxidation. ...

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In chemistry, an oligomer is a molecule that consists of a few monomer units (ολιγος, or oligos, is Greek for "a few"), in contrast to a polymer that, at least in principle, consists of an unlimited number of monomers. Dimers, trimers, and tetramers are oligomers. Many oils are oligomeric, such as liquid paraffin. Plasticizers are oligomeric esters widely used to soften thermoplastics such as PVC. They may be made from monomers by linking them together, or by separation from the higher fractions of crude oil. Polybutene is an oligomeric oil used to make putty. Greek prefixes are often used to designate the number of monomer units in the oligomer, for example a tetramer being composed of four units and a hexamer of six.

In biochemistry, the term oligomer is used for short, single-stranded nucleic acid fragments, such as DNA or RNA, or similar fragments of analogs of nucleic acids such as peptide nucleic acid or Morpholinos. Such oligos are used in hybridization experiments (bound to glass slides or nylon membranes), as probes for in situ hybridization or in antisense experiments such as gene knockdowns. It can also refer to a protein complex made of two or more subunits. In this case, a complex made of several different protein subunits is called a hetero-oligomer or heteromer. When only one type of protein subunit is used in the complex, it is called a homo-oligomer or homomer.

Oligomerization is a chemical process that converts monomers to a finite degree of polymerization. The actual figure is a matter of debate, often a value between 10 and 100.[citation needed]

When an oligomer forms as a result of chain transfer the oligomer is called a telomer and the process telomerization. A telomere is a region of highly repetitive DNA at the end of a linear chromosome.

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