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Latest Cell membrane Stories

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2010-01-22 10:58:45

A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, in Germany, led by the Spanish physicist Rub©n Fernández-Busnadiego, has managed to obtain 3D images of the vesicles and filaments involved in communication between neurons. The method is based on a novel technique in electron microscopy, which cools cells so quickly that their biological structures can be frozen while fully active. "We used electron cryotomography, a new technique in microscopy based on ultra-fast...

2010-01-14 20:23:51

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered how cells in the body flatten out as they adhere to internal bodily surfaces, the first step in a wide range of important processes including clot formation, immune defense, wound healing, and the spread of cancer cells. Their study is published in the January 15 issue of Science. Xiaoping Du, UIC professor of pharmacology, and his colleagues were trying to better understand how platelets in the blood...

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2009-12-23 12:24:23

Much like a tightly wound drum, red blood cells are in perpetual vibration. Those vibrations help the cells maintain their characteristic flattened oval or disc shape, which is critical to their ability to deform as they traverse blood vessels in the body to deliver oxygen to tissues. Blood disorders such as malaria, sickle cell anemia and spherocytosis interfere with those vibrations, so a better understanding of the vibrations could help researchers develop treatments for those diseases....

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2009-12-23 07:06:16

Communication between nerve cells is vital for our bodies to function. Part of this communication happens through vesicles containing signaling molecules called neurotransmitters. The vesicle fuses with the nerve cell membrane; the neurotransmitters are released and quickly recorded by the next nerve cell. It is crucial that new vesicles constantly are produced for the nerve cell communication continuously to take place. If parts of this communication do not work, it leads to nerve pain like...

2009-12-18 14:05:55

Shell of single-protein capsule degrades or remains intact based on environment Protein therapy "” the delivery of healthy proteins directly into human cells to replace malfunctioning proteins "” is considered one of the most direct and safe approaches for treating diseases. But its effectiveness has been limited by low delivery efficiency and the poor stability of proteins, which are frequently broken down and digested by cells' protease enzymes before they reach their intended...

2009-12-17 14:41:02

HZI researchers redefine the invasion mechanism of Salmonella "Based on our data, the molecular mechanism of infection employed by Salmonella has to be revised," says Klemens Rottner, head of the HZI research group "Cytoskeleton Dynamics". The group's results have now been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Cellular Microbiology". Salmonella are highly adaptive bacteria. They can live in the presence and absence of oxygen and thus propagate in the gut. The ingestion by...

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2009-12-15 07:24:15

Scientists have identified a novel antifreeze molecule in a freeze-tolerant Alaska beetle able to survive temperatures below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike all previously described biological antifreezes that contain protein, this new molecule, called xylomannan, has little or no protein. It is composed of a sugar and a fatty acid and may exist in new places within the cells of organisms. "The most exciting part of this discovery is that this molecule is a whole new kind of antifreeze...

2009-12-02 19:20:52

The transmission of information from one neuron to the next is an unseen intricate ballet. Tiny vesicles "“ bubbles containing the chemical neurotransmitters that make information exchange possible"”travel to the tip of neurons (synapses), where they fuse with the cell's membrane in a process called exocytosis. The extra membrane is then captured in a process called endocytosis and recycled to form a new vesicle to enable the next cycle of release. The two processes, exocytosis...

2009-11-19 19:31:14

Since the discovery in 2007 that a component of human semen called SEVI boosts infectivity of the virus that causes AIDS, researchers have been trying to learn more about SEVI and how it works, in hopes of thwarting its infection-promoting activity. Now, scientists at the University of Michigan have determined the atomic-level, three-dimensional structure of a SEVI precursor known as PAP248-286 and discovered how it damages cell membranes to make them more vulnerable to infection with HIV....

2009-11-03 15:40:20

New research reveals how proteins that are critical for the transparency of the eye lens are properly sorted and localized in membrane bilayers. The study, published by Cell Press in the November 3rd issue of Biophysical Journal, analyzes how interactions between lipid and protein molecules can selectively concentrate proteins in certain regions of the cell membrane. All cells are surrounded by a dynamic semi-permeable structure called the plasma membrane. Cell plasma membranes are made of a...