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Latest Biological membrane Stories

2012-10-24 23:40:46

Boosting the activity of a vitamin-sensitive cell adhesion pathway has the potential to counteract the muscle degeneration and reduced mobility caused by muscular dystrophies, according to a research team led by scientists at the University of Maine. The discovery, published 23 October in the open access journal PLOS Biology, is particularly important for congenital muscular dystrophies, which are progressive, debilitating and often lethal diseases that currently remain without cure. The...

Why Cells And Organelles Don't Get Stuck
2012-08-31 11:44:50

Researchers explain 'hydration repulsion' between biomembranes Biomembranes enclose biological cells like a skin. They also surround organelles that carry out important functions in metabolism and cell division. Scientists have long known in principle how biomembranes are built up, and also that water molecules play a role in maintaining the optimal distance between neighboring membranes–otherwise they could not fulfill their vital functions. Now, with the help of computer...

Protein Purifier Could Help Pharmaceutical Industry Save Money
2012-05-02 03:33:21

Two Michigan State University researchers have invented a protein purifier that could help pharmaceutical companies save time and money. The details of the invention, which appear in a recent issue of the journal Langmuir, demonstrate that MSU chemists Merlin Bruening and Greg Baker´s high-performance membranes are highly suitable for protein purification, a crucial step in the development of some new drugs. Purifying proteins, the process of isolating a single, desired protein...

2012-03-21 15:30:04

Why does inhaling anesthetics cause unconsciousness? New insights into this century-and-a-half-old question may spring from research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Scientists from NIST and the National Institutes of Health have found hints that anesthesia may affect the organization of fat molecules, or lipids, in a cell's outer membrane–potentially altering the ability to send signals along nerve cell membranes. "A better fundamental...

2012-02-20 14:32:25

Lipids help control the development of cell polarity In a standard biology textbook, cells tend to look more or less the same from all sides. But in real life cells have fronts and backs, tops and bottoms, and they orient many of their structures according to this polarity explaining, for example, why yeast cells bud at one end and not the other. Over the last few years, Rong Li, Ph.D., and her team at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have figured out many important details of...

2012-01-26 02:13:47

Chemists have taken an important step in making artificial life forms from scratch. Using a novel chemical reaction, they have created self-assembling cell membranes, the structural envelopes that contain and support the reactions required for life. Neal Devaraj, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, and Itay Budin, a graduate student at Harvard University, report their success in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “One of our long...

2011-12-16 14:11:06

Opening up a new door in synthetic biology, a team of researchers has developed a microfluidic device that produces a continuous supply of tiny lipid spheres that are similar in many ways to a cell's outer membrane. "Cells are essentially small, complex bioreactors enclosed by phospholipid membranes," said Abraham Lee from the University of California, Irvine. "Effectively producing vesicles with lipid membranes that mimic those of natural cells is a valuable tool for fundamental biology...

2011-11-02 09:06:07

Neurofibrillary tangles — odd, twisted clumps of protein found within nerve cells — are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The tangles, which were first identified in the early 1900s by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Aloysius Alzheimer, are formed when changes in a protein called tau cause it to aggregate in an insoluble mass in the cytoplasm of cells. Normally, the tau protein is involved in the formation of microtubules, hollow filaments that provide cells...

2011-10-10 09:11:11

Could controlling cell-membrane fat play a key role in turning off disease? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago think so, and a biosensor they've created that measures membrane lipid levels may open up new pathways to disease treatment. Wonhwa Cho, distinguished professor of chemistry, and his coworkers engineered a way to modify proteins to fluoresce and act as sensors for lipid levels. Their findings are reported in Nature Chemistry, online on Oct. 9. "Lipid...

2011-09-23 11:59:42

Lianas whose stabilization rings of woody cells heal spontaneously after suffering damage serve as a natural example to bionic experts of self-repairing membranes. Such membranes could find use, for example, in rubber dinghies. Empa researchers have borrowed this trick from nature and developed a polymer foam surface coating with a closed cell construction which not only reduces the pressure loss after the membrane is damaged but also makes the inflatable structure more resistant and giving...


Word of the Day
virgule
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.
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