A helical TALE protein molecule wrapped around a double helix of DNA. TALE stands for “Transcription Activator-Like Effectors”, they are produced by Xanthomonas bacteria when entering a plant cell. They manipulate the host cell by switching on certain genes that make the plant cell more susceptible to infection. TALE subunits bind to the nucleotides of DNA in a 1:1 ratio, and each subunit has a pair of amino acids that is specific to a single DNA base. This enables the TALEs to recognize and activate specific sequences of DNA.
Coccolithophores are single celled eukaryotic phytoplankton that synthesize intricate exoskeletons from crystals of calcium carbonate. The functions of these coccoliths are unknown, and may include buoyancy, osmotic regulation, protection from UV light, predation, or mechanical shock. When nutrient and light conditions are optimal, coccolithophores can form massive plankton blooms that are visible from space. Large numbers of these organisms can accumulate on the ocean floor forming chalk deposits such as the White Cliffs of Dover.