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Latest Actin Stories

2011-02-15 19:44:22

New research sheds light on the interaction between the semi-flexible protein tropomyosin and actin thin filaments. The study, published by Cell Press on February 15th in the Biophysical Journal, provides the first detailed atomic model of tropomyosin bound to actin and significantly advances the understanding of the dynamic relationship between these key cellular proteins. Tropomyosin is a long protein that associates with actin, a highly conserved thin filament protein found in organisms...

2011-01-17 12:29:30

In a technique that could eventually shed light on how gene expression influences human disease, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have for the first time ever successfully visualized single molecules of naturally-occurring messenger RNA (mRNA) transcribed in living mammalian cells. The scientific achievement is detailed in the January 16 online edition of Nature Methods. Gene expression involves transcribing a gene's DNA into molecules of mRNA. These...

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2010-12-20 10:35:58

New model system for examining plastics properties Plastics-based materials have been in use for decades. But manufacturers are facing a serious hurdle in their quest for new developments: Substantial influences of the microscopic material structure on mechanical material properties cannot be observed directly. The synthetic polymer molecules are simply too small for microscopic observation in mechanical experiments. A team of physicists led by professor Andreas Bausch of the Technische...

2010-12-07 15:36:06

Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a central switch that controls whether cells move or remain stationary. The misregulation of this switch may play a role in the increased movement of tumor cells and in the aggressiveness of tumors themselves. "Malignant cancer arises when cancer cells acquire the ability to move away from their primary tissue location," said Natalia Starostina assistant research scientist in the UGA department of cellular biology and lead author of the...

2010-11-22 19:17:18

A new study reveals that muscle cells fuse together during development by poking "fingers" into each other to help break down the membranes separating them. The study appears online on November 22, 2010 in the Journal of Cell Biology(www.jcb.org). During muscle development, individual muscle cells fuse together to form long myotubes containing multiple cell nuclei. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, fusion occurs between two different types of muscle cell: founder cells and...

2010-10-15 16:32:31

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have gained insight into how different types of age-related hearing loss may occur in humans. The discovery could eventually help physicians develop drugs to combat progressive hearing loss. Their paper is published on October 14 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics. James Ervasti, Ph.D., and colleague Ben Perrin, Ph.D., studied how two very closely related genes contribute to hearing function in mice. Mutations in the same genes...

2010-09-27 17:33:42

Researchers have shown that LIM kinase (LIMK), an important regulator of actin cytoskeleton dynamics, plays a key role in cancer metastasis. The study appears online on September 27 in The Journal of Cell Biology www.jcb.org. Cancer metastasis is a multi-stage process that starts with the invasion of tumor cells into their surrounding tissue. The ability of metastatic cells to invade requires reorganization of the actin-myosin cytoskeleton, which is controlled by a sophisticated network of...

2010-09-21 21:58:20

Insight may lead to better understanding of how cells respond to stress Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have discovered that a protein, zyxin, is necessary for the maintenance and repair of the cell's cytoskeleton, or internal framework, which serves as the muscle and bone of the cell. The research has implications for cancer, as well as other diseases, since alterations in the cytoskeleton are often associated with disease. The research was published...

2010-09-14 12:26:46

Research provides insight into developmental disorders, including Williams syndrome Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have uncovered how a structural component inside neurons performs two coordinated dance moves when the connections between neurons are strengthened. The results are published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, and will appear in a future print issue. In experiments with neurons in culture, the researchers can distinguish two separate steps during...

2010-09-01 20:57:00

Probing for principles underlying flock patterns For the casual observer it is fascinating to watch the orderly and seemingly choreographed motion of hundreds or even thousands of fish, birds or insects. However, the formation and the manifold motion patterns of such flocks raise numerous questions fundamental to the understanding of complex systems. A team of physicists from Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and LMU Muenchen has developed a versatile biophysical model system that opens...