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Latest Cellular processes Stories

2009-09-16 15:04:06

Using yeast genetics and a novel scheme to selectively remove a single protein from the cell division process called meiosis, a cell biologist at The Florida State University found that when a key molecular player known as Pds5 goes missing, chromosomes fail to segregate and pair up properly, and birth defects such as Down syndrome can result. That discovery is groundbreaking, but so, too, is what principal investigator Hong-Guo Yu calls the "genetics trick" performed by his research team...

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...

2009-09-01 13:06:37

A process that limits the number of times a cell divides works much differently than had been thought, opening the door to potential new anticancer therapies, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report in the Aug. 7 issue of the journal Cell.Most cells in the human body divide only a certain number of times, via a countdown mechanism that stops them. When the controlling process goes wrong, the cells divide indefinitely, contributing to cancer growth.The number of times a cell...

2009-09-01 07:24:01

Cell cycle checkpoints act like molecular tripwires for damaged cells. Leave the tripwire in place for too long, however, and cancer cells will press on regardless, making them resistant to certain types of chemotherapy, according to researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. "A lot of progress has been made in understanding the molecular details of checkpoint activation," senior author Tony Hunter, Ph.D., a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory was quoted as...

2009-08-20 11:55:00

Success in soccer sometimes comes with "bending it like Beckham." Success in cellular fusion "” as occurs at the moment of conception and when nerve cells exchange neurotransmitters "” requires that a membrane be bent before the merging process can begin, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have shown.The scientists offer the first concrete evidence that a protein called synaptotagmin plays a critical role in initiating fusion by bending a section of a target membrane. The...

2009-08-19 06:23:56

The ability to specifically target and modify genes in the mouse allows researchers to use this small rodent to study how certain genes contribute to human disease. A common method used to make genetic changes in mice and cells is called site-specific recombination, where two DNA strands are exchanged. The two strands may contain very different sequences, but are designated at their ends by specific target sequences that are not commonly found elsewhere in the genome. A protein, called a...

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2009-08-17 16:25:00

"A biologist, a physicist, and a nanotechnologist walk into a ..." sounds like the start of a joke. Instead, it was the start of a collaboration that has helped to decipher a critical, but so far largely unstudied, phase of how cells divide. Errors in cell division can cause mutations that lead to cancer, and this study could shed light on the role of chromosome abnormalities in uncontrolled cell replication.The biologist in question is University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Associate...

2009-08-17 13:39:34

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have uncovered the mechanism behind a promising new approach to cancer treatment: damaging cancer cells' DNA with potent drugs while simultaneously preventing the cells from repairing themselves.The findings being reported in the Aug. 14 issue of Molecular Cell help explain the promising results being seen in clinical trials of compounds that force cancer cells with genetic damage to self-destruct instead of "resting" while their DNA undergoes...

2009-08-14 08:44:50

Scientists from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech have developed a quantitative, mathematical model of DNA replication and cell division for the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus. C. crescentus, an alpha-proteobacterium that inhabits freshwater, seawater and soils, is an ideal organism for genetic and computational biology studies due to the wealth of molecular information that has been accumulated by researchers. It also...

2009-08-06 13:36:25

The promise of stem cell therapy may lie in uncovering how adult cells revert back into a primordial, stem cell state, whose fate is yet to be determined. Now, cell scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have identified key molecular players responsible for this reversion in fruit fly sperm cells. Reporting online this week in Cell Stem Cell, researchers show that two proteins are responsible redirecting cells on the way to becoming sperm back to stem cells."We knew...


Word of the Day
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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