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Latest Cell membrane Stories

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2009-10-22 14:29:21

Trying to understand the complex workings of a biological cell by teasing out the function of every molecule within it is a daunting task. But by making synthetic cells that include just a few chemical processes, researchers can study cellular machinery one manageable piece at a time. A new paper* from researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describes a highly simplified model cell that not only sheds light on the way certain real cells...

2009-09-29 12:41:35

Just as people plug in to computers, smart phones and electric outlets to communicate, electric fish communicate by quickly plugging special channels into their cells to generate electrical impulses, University of Texas at Austin researchers have discovered. The fish generate electric fields to navigate, fight and attract mates in murky streams and rivers throughout Central and South America. They do so at night, while trying to avoid predators such as catfish that sense the electric fields....

2009-09-21 09:52:31

New data on signaling proteins, called G proteins, may prove important in fighting diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer. For many decades scientists have puzzled on "How signaling proteins transport and organize in specific areas of the cell?" Researchers from Nano-Science Center and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology provide yet unrecognized clues to solve this mystery. - We now begin to understand how signaling proteins recognize and transport to...

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2009-09-21 08:04:34

University of Central Florida Microbiology Professor Keith Ireton has uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that plays an important role in the spread of a deadly food-borne bacterium. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause pregnant women to lose their fetuses and trigger fatal cases of meningitis in the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. The bacterium has been linked to outbreaks traced to food processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. In 2002, a multi-state...

2009-09-14 08:31:11

A network of proteins underlying the plasma membrane keeps epithelial cells in shape and maintains their orderly hexagonal packing in the mouse lens, say Nowak et al. The study will appear in the September 21, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (online September 14). Spectrin, F-actin, and associated proteins form a meshwork that supports and shapes the plasma membrane of red blood cells. A similar network underlies the membranes of other cell types, including lens fiber cells:...

2009-09-13 12:41:26

Reveals shape-shifting atomic interactions; suggests mechanism and possible drug targets How much difference can a tenth of a nanometer make? When it comes to figuring out how proteins work, an improvement in resolution of that miniscule amount can mean the difference between seeing where atoms are and understanding how they interact. Case in point: New, improved-resolution views of a zinc transporter protein deciphered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory provide...

2009-09-03 15:29:30

As part of the intricate ballet of synaptic transmission from one neuron to the next, 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 (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. Most important, exocytosis must be...

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2009-08-11 16:35:00

Researchers in the United States and Spain have discovered that a tool widely used in nanoscale imaging works differently in watery environments, a step toward better using the instrument to study biological molecules and structures.The researchers demonstrated their new understanding of how the instrument - the atomic force microscope - works in water to show detailed properties of a bacterial membrane and a virus called Phi29, said Arvind Raman, a Purdue professor of mechanical...

2009-08-06 13:15:00

Yale University researchers have discovered how a protein within most cell membranes helps maintain normal cell size, a breakthrough in basic biology that has implications for a variety of diseases such as sickle cell anemia and disorders of the nervous system.Cell size is regulated by the balance of positively and negatively charged ions and other solutes in the fluid inside and outside cells, which in turn prevents water from moving across cell membranes and changing cell size. Changes in...

2009-07-29 14:31:00

Recycling is a critical component in the process of transmitting information from one neuron to the next, and a large protein called Tweek plays a critical role, said an international consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in a report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.Fruit flies that lack the protein, named for the over-caffeinated character in the cartoon South Park, shake in a hyperactive manner, said Dr. Hugo Bellen, professor of molecular and...