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Uncovering Cell-growth Secret
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Uncovering Cell-growth Secret

July 27, 2010
A window into the cell reveals the actin network and organelles inside a macrophage as it pursues bacterial invaders. Actin forms long filaments that lie just beneath the surface of the cell, giving it structure and stability. As the immune cell crawls and looks for invaders--such as the bacterium E. coli--new actin growth helps to push the cell forward. Researchers used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to study aspects of actin growth.

The discovery demonstrates a technique for tracking a cell's growth history, and if it proves valid outside of the laboratory, researchers may one day look for actin-growth clues while tracking the pathways of spreading cancers, immune cells and other free-moving cells that crawl throughout the body.