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Latest Microfilament Stories

2010-07-07 12:42:14

In this study, Shuichi Takeda at Nagoya University and colleagues present the X-ray crystal structures of the actin capping protein (CP) complexed with its inhibitors, V-1 and CARMIL, and demonstrate that the two regulators modulate the filament capping activity in very different manners. These findings will be published next week in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology. Dynamic rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton structure is fundamental to many cellular processes, such as neuronal...

2010-06-22 01:59:57

The APC protein serves as the colon's guardian, keeping tumors at bay. Now researchers reveal a new function for the protein: helping to renovate the cytoskeleton by triggering actin assembly. The result suggests a second way that mutations in APC could lead to cancer. The study appears online on June 21 in the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org). A faulty APC gene occurs in more than 80% of colon cancers and is one of the early "gateway" mutations leading to abnormal growth. Researchers...

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2010-03-16 14:06:51

Understanding the steps to the intricate dance inside a cell is essential to one day choreographing the show. By studying the molecules that give a cell its structure, University of Illinois researchers are moving closer to understanding one of those steps: the conga line. Led by Steve Granick, Founder Professor of Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, of chemistry,  of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and of physics at the U. of I., the team will publish...

2010-03-15 16:06:12

Novel method distinguishes between structurally similar folding forms Researchers at the Department of Chemistry at the Technische Universität Mnchen (TUM) have developed a method that allows the observation of local movements in proteins on a time scale of nanoseconds to microseconds. Upon examining movements of the protein villin using this method they found two structures that were otherwise barely distinguishable from one another. Quick nanosecond-scale structure changes essential...

2010-02-02 10:56:02

A group of Marshall University researchers and their colleagues in Japan are conducting research that may lead to new ways to move or position single molecules"”a necessary step if man someday hopes to build molecular machines or other devices capable of working at very small scales. Dr. Eric Blough, a member of the research team and an associate professor in Marshall University's Department of Biological Sciences, said his group has shown how bionanomotors can be used some day to move...

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:...

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2009-07-13 10:55:00

New study helps explain why it is easy to encode new memories but hard to hold onto themMemories aren't made of actin filaments. But their assembly is crucial for long-term potentiation (LTP), an increase in synapse sensitivity that researchers think helps to lay down memories. In the July 13, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (www.jcb.org), Rex et al. reveal that LTP's actin reorganization occurs in two stages that are controlled by different pathways, a discovery that helps explain...

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2008-12-09 10:19:28

Researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key step required for cell division in a study that could help improve therapies to treat cancer. Their work describing the mechanism of the contractile ring "“ a structure that pinches the mother cell into two daughter cells "“ has been published in the December 5 issue of the journal Science. The division of one cell into two is accomplished...

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2008-11-25 11:40:00

Flip open any biology textbook and you're bound to see a complicated diagram of the inner workings of a cell, with its internal scaffolding, the  cytoskeleton, and how it maintains a cell's shape. Yet the fundamental question remains, which came first: the shape, or the skeleton?Now a research team led by Phong Tran, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has the answer: Both.The findings, published online this...

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2008-04-10 14:20:00

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that a protein called leiomodin (Lmod) promotes the assembly of an important heart muscle protein called actin. What's more, Lmod directs the assembly of actin to form the pumping unit of the heart. The findings appear in this week's issue of Science."Very little was known about Lmod when we began this study," says lead author Roberto Dominguez, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology. "It appeared that this...


Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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