The sequence of amino acid residues in a protein is defined by the sequence of a gene, which is encoded in the genetic code.
In general, the genetic code specifies 20 standard amino acids; however, in certain organisms the genetic code can include selenocysteine and—in certain archaea—pyrrolysine.
The majority of epithelial surfaces of our body, such as the skin and mucosa, are colonized by a vast number of microorganisms; these represent the so-called normal microflora, the microbiota.
Autophagy is a conserved catabolic process that degrades cytoplasmic constituents and organelles in the lysosome.
Metagenomic approaches are currently being used to decipher the genome of the microbiota (microbiome), and, in parallel, functional studies are being performed to analyze the effects of the microbiota on the host.
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A representation of the 3D structure of the protein myoglobin showing turquoise α-helices.
Gnotobiological methods are an indispensable tool for studying the consequences of bacterial colonization.
Animals used as models of human diseases can be maintained in sterile conditions (isolators used for germ-free rearing) and specifically colonized with defined microbes (including non-cultivable commensal bacteria).