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Latest Actin Stories

2010-08-26 12:57:12

Findings add new dimension to how memories are encoded, suggest new therapeutic targets Functioning much like gears in a machine, cellular motor proteins are critical to dynamic functions throughout the body, including muscle contraction, cell migration and cellular growth processes. Now, neuroscientists from UC Irvine and the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute report that motor proteins also play a critical role in the stabilization of long-term memories. The findings add an...

2010-08-25 14:54:23

New findings could lead to better treatments for memory disorders Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have discovered a mechanism that plays a critical role in the formation of long-term memory. The findings shed substantial new light on aspects of how memory is formed, and could lead to novel treatments for memory disorders. The study was published as the cover story of the journal Neuron on August 26, 2010. In the study, the scientists found that a main...

2010-07-07 12:42:14

In this study, Shuichi Takeda at Nagoya University and colleagues present the X-ray crystal structures of the actin capping protein (CP) complexed with its inhibitors, V-1 and CARMIL, and demonstrate that the two regulators modulate the filament capping activity in very different manners. These findings will be published next week in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology. Dynamic rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton structure is fundamental to many cellular processes, such as neuronal...

2010-06-29 03:20:03

There are major shifts underway in understanding the physiological mechanisms that control muscle contraction, a field that has been the focus of intense research for centuries. Last September, leading muscle researchers from around the world gathered to discuss new findings, insights, and current questions in the field as part of the 63rd Symposium of the Society of General Physiologists (SGP) on "Muscle in Health and Disease." Inspired by the SGP discussions, the latest Perspectives in...

2010-06-22 01:59:57

The APC protein serves as the colon's guardian, keeping tumors at bay. Now researchers reveal a new function for the protein: helping to renovate the cytoskeleton by triggering actin assembly. The result suggests a second way that mutations in APC could lead to cancer. The study appears online on June 21 in the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org). A faulty APC gene occurs in more than 80% of colon cancers and is one of the early "gateway" mutations leading to abnormal growth. Researchers...

2010-05-14 08:13:12

University of Pennsylvania bioengineers have demonstrated that the cells that line blood vessels respond to mechanical forces "” the microscopic tugging and pulling on cellular structures "” by reinforcing and growing their connections, thus creating stronger adhesive interactions between neighboring cells. Adherens junctions, the structures that allow cohesion between cells in a tissue, appear to be modulated by endothelial cell-to-cell tugging forces.  Both the size of...

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2010-04-26 14:22:53

Cancer cells need all three of their cytoskeletons"”actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments"”to metastasize, according to a study published online on April 26 in the Journal of Cell Biology. A cancer cell in an epithelial layer is trapped unless it can force through the basement membrane, which cordons off the tissue. Tumor cells start to dissolve the basement membrane with enzymes that build up within extensions called invadopodia. How the different components of the...

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2010-03-16 14:06:51

Understanding the steps to the intricate dance inside a cell is essential to one day choreographing the show. By studying the molecules that give a cell its structure, University of Illinois researchers are moving closer to understanding one of those steps: the conga line. Led by Steve Granick, Founder Professor of Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, of chemistry,  of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and of physics at the U. of I., the team will publish...

2010-03-15 16:06:12

Novel method distinguishes between structurally similar folding forms Researchers at the Department of Chemistry at the Technische Universität Mnchen (TUM) have developed a method that allows the observation of local movements in proteins on a time scale of nanoseconds to microseconds. Upon examining movements of the protein villin using this method they found two structures that were otherwise barely distinguishable from one another. Quick nanosecond-scale structure changes essential...

2010-03-13 08:16:44

Changes in muscle cell structure can affect gene expression New findings that shed light on how genetic damage to muscle cell proteins can lead to the development of the rare muscle-wasting disease, nemaline myopathy, are reported March 15 in the Biochemical Journal. Professor Laura Machesky and colleagues from the CRUK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, tested cultures of muscle cells that displayed mutations of the ACTA1 gene to determine how the mutations affected the...