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Latest Actin Stories

2011-06-06 12:58:43

Revealing another part of the story of muscle development, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown how the cytoskeleton from one muscle cell builds finger-like projections that invade into another muscle cell's territory, eventually forcing the cells to combine. Such muscle cell fusion, the researchers say, is not only important for understanding normal muscle growth, but also muscle regeneration after injury or disease. The work, they believe, could further development of therapies for muscular...

2011-06-03 13:23:15

Max Planck scientists decipher important mechanisms of bacterial cell wall synthesis Almost all bacteria owe their structure to an outer cell wall that interacts closely with the supporting MreB protein inside the cell. As scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and at the French INRA now show, MreB molecules assemble into larger units, but not - as previously believed "“ into continuous helical structures. The circular movement of these units along the inside of the...

2011-05-31 15:34:58

Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have overturned conventional wisdom on how cell movement across all species is controlled, solving the structure of a protein that cuts power to the cell 'motor'. The protein could be a potential drug target for future malaria and anti-cancer treatments. By studying the structure of actin-depolymerising factor 1 (ADF1), a key protein involved in controlling the movement of malaria parasites, the researchers have demonstrated that...

2011-05-25 21:30:11

With every bodily movement"”from the blink of an eye to running a marathon"”nerve cells transmit signals to muscle cells. To do that, nerve cells rely on tiny molecular motors to transport chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that excite muscles cells into action. It's a complex process, which scientists are still trying to understand. A new study by Syracuse University researchers has uncovered an important piece of the puzzle. The study, published in the April 22 issue of...

2011-04-19 15:02:12

New insight into the physiology of cardiac muscle may lead to the development of therapeutic strategies that exploit an inherent protective state of the heart. The research, published by Cell Press online on April 19th in the Biophysical Journal, discovers a state of cardiac muscle that exhibits a low metabolic rate and may help to regulate energy use and promote efficiency in this hard-working and vital organ. Muscle cells are highly specialized cells that are able to physically contract and...

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2011-04-12 11:20:00

X-rays shed new light on the regulation of muscle contraction In a famous experiment first performed more than 220 years ago, Italian physician Luigi Galvani discovered that the muscles of a frog's leg twitch when an electric voltage is applied. An international group of scientists from Italy, the UK and France has now brought this textbook classic into the era of nanoscience. They used a powerful new synchrotron X-ray technique to observe for the first time at the molecular scale how muscle...

2011-03-17 21:02:25

Novel mechanistic approach to directly modulating muscle contractility may represent a promising strategy to treat systolic heart failure Cytokinetics, Incorporated (Nasdaq: CYTK) announced today the publication of preclinical research in the March 18, 2011 issue of the journal Science regarding the activation of cardiac myosin by an investigational drug candidate, omecamtiv mecarbil, and the potential therapeutic role that this novel mechanism may play for patients with systolic heart...

2011-03-07 12:23:17

Presentation today at Biophysical Society Meeting in Baltimore From grinding heavy metal to soothing ocean waves, the sounds we hear are all perceptible thanks to the vibrations felt by tiny molecular motors in the hair cells of the inner ear. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have now identified the mechanism by which a single amino acid change can disrupt the normal functioning of one of the critical components of that physiology -- a molecular motor protein...

2011-03-02 13:53:14

Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers Many materials, when observed over a sufficiently long period of time, show changes in their mechanical properties. The exact course of these developments depends on the underlying microscopic mechanisms. However, the microscopic structure and the complexity of the systems make direct observation extremely difficult. That is why a team led by Professor Andreas Bausch from the Chair of Cellular Biophysics resorted to...

2011-02-16 15:25:36

Muscle, aptly enough, is born of cellular bullying, and not mutual consent. In fact, according to new research from Johns Hopkins, the fusion of muscle cells is a power struggle that involves a smaller mobile antagonist that points at, pokes and finally pushes into its larger, stationary partner using a newly identified finger-like projection. In a report published Nov. 29 in the Journal of Cell Biology, the researchers described experiments using fruit fly embryos to identify an invasive...