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Latest Cell membrane Stories

2012-02-03 12:06:30

Small molecules at the cell's membrane enable cell movement Cell biologists at Johns Hopkins have identified key steps in how certain molecules alter a cell´s skeletal shape and drive the cell´s movement. Results of their research, published in the December 13 issue of Science Signaling, have implications for figuring out what triggers the metastatic spread of cancer cells and wound-healing. “Essentially we are figuring out how cells crawl,” says Takanari Inoue,...

2012-01-26 12:02:07

Visualization of the molecular gateway across and into cellular membranes All living organisms are made up of cells, behind these intricate life forms lie complex cellular processes that allow our bodies to function. Researchers working on protein secretion – a fundamental process in biology – have revealed how protein channels in the membrane are activated by special signals contained in proteins destined for secretion. The results help explain the underlying mechanism...

2012-01-24 22:00:29

The many factors that contribute to how cells communicate and function at the most basic level are still not fully understood, but researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have uncovered a mechanism that helps explain how intracellular membranes fuse, and in the process, created a new physiological membrane fusion model. The findings appear in the current edition of the journal PLoS Biology. "Within our cells, we have communicating compartments called vesicles (a bubble-like membrane...

2012-01-23 22:07:58

Metastasizing cancer cells often express integrins that provide better traction. A new study in The Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org) reveals how a lipid-converting enzyme helps the cells mobilize these integrins. Adhesive integrin proteins continually cycle to and from the cell surface. Invasive cancer cells that carry mutant forms of the tumor suppressor p53 often bias the process, increasing the recycling of a particular integrin that offers a better grip on the fibronectin fibers...

2012-01-23 10:07:45

UCSF scientists have discovered the unexpected way in which a key cell of the immune system prepares for battle. The finding, they said, offers insight into the processes that take place within these cells and could lead to strategies for treating conditions from spinal cord injury to cancer. The research focused on the neutrophil, the most common type of white blood cell. Like other cells in the immune system, its job is to seek out and destroy bacteria, viruses or other foreign entities...

2012-01-18 22:03:51

The accumulation of α-synuclein, a small, negatively charged protein, in neural cells, is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease. It has been suggested that oligomeric α-synuclein causes membranes to become permeable, or to form channels on the outer cell membrane. Now, a group of scientists from Sweden has found a way to reliably replicate α-synuclein aggregation on cell membranes to investigate how different forms of α-synuclein...

Protein Assists The Spread Of Breast Cancer
2012-01-18 06:02:54

Researchers have uncovered a protein that helps some breast cancer tumors to break through their surrounding cell matrix and spread to other tissues. The protein, called hepsin, is a protease which is a class of enzymes that cuts other proteins. Proteases can be successfully targeted by drugs, providing the opportunity to target hepsin as a possible new treatment. Co-author Zena Werb, PhD, a professor of anatomy at University of California - San Francisco, said “If we could delay...

2012-01-16 21:13:31

With one simple experiment, University of Illinois chemists have debunked a widely held misconception about an often-prescribed drug. Led by chemistry professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute early career scientist Martin Burke, the researchers demonstrated that the top drug for treating systemic fungal infections works by simply binding to a lipid molecule essential to yeast's physiology, a finding that could change the direction of drug development endeavors and could lead to better...

2011-12-28 08:07:10

Half the drugs used today target a single class of proteins — and now scientists have identified an important molecular player critical to the proper workings of those proteins critical to our health. A protein known as Ric-8 plays a vital role, according to new results from a team led by Gregory Tall, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The work was published recently in Science Signaling. What you see, what you...

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...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.