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Latest Cell membrane Stories

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2009-06-29 09:55:00

Every cell lining the small intestine bristles with thousands of tightly packed microvilli that project into the gut lumen, forming a brush border that absorbs nutrients and protects the body from intestinal bacteria. In the June 29, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org), Matthew McConnell, Matthew Tyska, and colleagues now find that microvilli extend their functional reach even further using a molecular motor to send vesicles packed with gut enzymes out into the lumen to...

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2009-06-25 14:10:00

In a landmark technical achievement, investigators in the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology have used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods to determine the structure of the largest membrane-spanning protein to date.Although NMR methods are routinely used to "take molecular pictures" of small proteins, large proteins "“ and particularly those that reside within the cell membrane "“ have been reluctant to smile for the camera.In the June 26 issue of Science, Charles...

2009-06-25 11:45:26

In the bustling economy of the cell, little bubbles called vesicles serve as container ships, ferrying cargo to and from the port - the cell membrane. Some of these vesicles, called post-Golgi vesicles, export cargo made by the cell's protein factory. Scientists have long believed that other, similar vesicles handle the reverse function, importing life-supporting nutrients and proteins through an independent process. By using a finely honed type of microscopy to more precisely examine these...

2009-06-16 07:39:18

Water is a crucial ingredient for life, but its level inside cells must be carefully regulated to maintain proper cell shape and size. In this week's issue of the open access journal PLoS Biology, scientists from the University of Gothenburg describe the highest resolution three-dimensional structure yet of a membrane protein, in this case of a protein channel known as an aquaporin that regulates water flow into and out of yeast cells. Virtually all living organisms use aquaporins to regulate...

2009-06-14 12:33:33

Cellulose is a fibrous molecule that makes up plant cell walls, gives plants shape and form and is a target of renewable, plant-based biofuels research. But how it forms, and thus how it can be modified to design energy-rich crops, is not well understood. Now a study led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology has discovered that the underlying protein network that provides the scaffolding for cell-wall structure is also the traffic cop for delivering the...

2009-04-16 15:35:19

A single crafty protein allows the deadly bacterium Salmonella enterica to both invade cells lining the intestine and hijack cellular functions to avoid destruction, Yale researchers report in the April 17 issue of the journal Cell. This evolutionary slight-of-hand sheds new insights into the lethal tricks of Salmonella, which kills more than 2 million people a year. "In evolutionary terms, this hijacking of cellular machinery to diversify the function of a bacterial protein is mind...

2009-03-09 00:08:17

Curcumin, turmeric's main ingredient, inserts itself into cell membranes and makes them more orderly and resistant to infection, U.S. researchers said. University of Michigan researchers led by Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy said the membrane goes from being crazy and floppy to being more disciplined and ordered, so information flow through it can be controlled. Probing high-resolution intermolecular interactions in the messy membrane environment has been a major challenge to commonly-used...

2009-02-11 11:48:07

Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have uncovered the transformer like properties of molecules responsible for carrying and depositing proteins to their correct locations within cells. The research could eventually lead to novel treatments for diseases that result from flaws in protein delivery as well as the development of new types of antibiotics. Shu-ou Shan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Caltech, and her colleagues looked specifically at a pair of...

2009-02-02 11:07:30

Get ready to send the biology textbooks back to the printer. In a new paper published in Nature, Benjamin Van Mooy, a geochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and his colleagues report that microscopic plants growing in the Sargasso Sea have come up with a completely unexpected way of building their cells. Until now, it was thought that all cells are surrounded by membranes containing molecules called phospholipids "“ oily compounds that contain phosphorus,...

2009-01-14 06:18:27

A protein that was first identified for playing a key role in regulating normal heart rhythms also appears to be significant in helping muscle cells survive the forces of muscle contraction. The clue was a laboratory mouse that seemed to have a form of muscular dystrophy. A group of proteins called ankyrins, or anchor proteins, were first discovered in human red blood cells by Vann Bennett, M.D. a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology,...


Word of the Day
toccata
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.
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