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Latest Microfilament Stories

2011-07-05 23:06:32

How cells change direction Many cell types in higher organisms are capable of implementing directed motion in response to the presence of certain chemical attractants in their vicinity. A team led by Dr. Doris Heinrich of the Faculty of Physics and the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Mnchen has developed a novel technique to expose an ensemble of living cells to rapidly varying concentrations of chemoattractants. "Using this novel experimental...

2011-06-06 12:58:43

Revealing another part of the story of muscle development, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown how the cytoskeleton from one muscle cell builds finger-like projections that invade into another muscle cell's territory, eventually forcing the cells to combine. Such muscle cell fusion, the researchers say, is not only important for understanding normal muscle growth, but also muscle regeneration after injury or disease. The work, they believe, could further development of therapies for muscular...

2011-05-25 21:30:11

With every bodily movement"”from the blink of an eye to running a marathon"”nerve cells transmit signals to muscle cells. To do that, nerve cells rely on tiny molecular motors to transport chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that excite muscles cells into action. It's a complex process, which scientists are still trying to understand. A new study by Syracuse University researchers has uncovered an important piece of the puzzle. The study, published in the April 22 issue of...

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2011-04-12 11:20:00

X-rays shed new light on the regulation of muscle contraction In a famous experiment first performed more than 220 years ago, Italian physician Luigi Galvani discovered that the muscles of a frog's leg twitch when an electric voltage is applied. An international group of scientists from Italy, the UK and France has now brought this textbook classic into the era of nanoscience. They used a powerful new synchrotron X-ray technique to observe for the first time at the molecular scale how muscle...

2011-03-07 12:23:17

Presentation today at Biophysical Society Meeting in Baltimore From grinding heavy metal to soothing ocean waves, the sounds we hear are all perceptible thanks to the vibrations felt by tiny molecular motors in the hair cells of the inner ear. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have now identified the mechanism by which a single amino acid change can disrupt the normal functioning of one of the critical components of that physiology -- a molecular motor protein...

2011-03-02 13:53:14

Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers Many materials, when observed over a sufficiently long period of time, show changes in their mechanical properties. The exact course of these developments depends on the underlying microscopic mechanisms. However, the microscopic structure and the complexity of the systems make direct observation extremely difficult. That is why a team led by Professor Andreas Bausch from the Chair of Cellular Biophysics resorted to...

2011-02-15 19:44:22

New research sheds light on the interaction between the semi-flexible protein tropomyosin and actin thin filaments. The study, published by Cell Press on February 15th in the Biophysical Journal, provides the first detailed atomic model of tropomyosin bound to actin and significantly advances the understanding of the dynamic relationship between these key cellular proteins. Tropomyosin is a long protein that associates with actin, a highly conserved thin filament protein found in organisms...

2010-09-14 12:26:46

Research provides insight into developmental disorders, including Williams syndrome Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have uncovered how a structural component inside neurons performs two coordinated dance moves when the connections between neurons are strengthened. The results are published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, and will appear in a future print issue. In experiments with neurons in culture, the researchers can distinguish two separate steps during...

2010-09-01 20:57:00

Probing for principles underlying flock patterns For the casual observer it is fascinating to watch the orderly and seemingly choreographed motion of hundreds or even thousands of fish, birds or insects. However, the formation and the manifold motion patterns of such flocks raise numerous questions fundamental to the understanding of complex systems. A team of physicists from Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and LMU Muenchen has developed a versatile biophysical model system that opens...

2010-08-26 12:57:12

Findings add new dimension to how memories are encoded, suggest new therapeutic targets Functioning much like gears in a machine, cellular motor proteins are critical to dynamic functions throughout the body, including muscle contraction, cell migration and cellular growth processes. Now, neuroscientists from UC Irvine and the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute report that motor proteins also play a critical role in the stabilization of long-term memories. The findings add an...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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