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Latest Organelles Stories

2012-03-01 11:08:15

Mitochondria -- subunits inside cells that produce energy -- have long been thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease. Now Mayo Clinic researchers using genetic mouse models have discovered that mitochondria in the brain are dysfunctional early in the disease. The findings appear in the journal PLoS ONE. The group looked at mitochondria in three mouse models, each using a different gene shown to cause familial, or early-onset, Alzheimer's disease. The specific mitochondria changes...

2012-02-28 11:47:38

The major difference between plant and animal cells is the photosynthetic process, which converts light energy into chemical energy. When light isn't available, energy is generated by breaking down carbohydrates and sugars, just as it is in animal and some bacterial cells. Two cellular organelles are responsible for these two processes: the chloroplasts for photosynthesis and the mitochondria for sugar breakdown. New research from Carnegie's Eva Nowack and Arthur Grossman has opened a window...

2012-02-23 13:12:13

Sugar, cholesterol, phosphates, zinc — a healthy body is amazingly good at keeping such vital nutrients at appropriate levels within its cells. From an engineering point of view, one all-purpose model of pump on the surface of a cell should suffice to keep these levels constant: When the concentration of a nutrient, say, sugar, drops inside the cell, the pump mechanism could simply go into higher gear until the sugar levels are back to normal. Yet strangely enough, such cells let in...

2012-02-21 15:10:48

Genome analysis of “living fossil” sheds light on the evolution of plants Atmospheric oxygen really took off on our planet about 2.4 billion years ago during the Great Oxygenation Event. At this key juncture of our planet´s evolution, species had either to learn to cope with this poison that was produced by photosynthesizing cyanobacteria or they went extinct. It now seems strange to think that the gas that sustains much of modern life had such a distasteful beginning....

2012-02-20 14:32:25

Lipids help control the development of cell polarity In a standard biology textbook, cells tend to look more or less the same from all sides. But in real life cells have fronts and backs, tops and bottoms, and they orient many of their structures according to this polarity explaining, for example, why yeast cells bud at one end and not the other. Over the last few years, Rong Li, Ph.D., and her team at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have figured out many important details of...

2012-02-10 15:16:01

Journal of Biological Chemistry: Linking of import and export The group of Prof. Dr. Ralf Erdmann at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Systems Biochemistry) discovered a connection of peroxisomal protein import and receptor export. In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, they disclosed that enzymes only get imported into certain cell organelles (peroxisomes) upon coupling of their import to the recycling of their transport protein (receptor)....

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...

2012-01-19 18:03:17

Findings could provide basis for first treatment for Shiga toxin infection Carnegie Mellon University researchers have discovered that an element commonly found in nature might provide a way to neutralize the potentially lethal effects of a compound known as Shiga toxin. New results published in the Jan. 20 issue of Science by Carnegie Mellon biologists Adam Linstedt and Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay show that manganese completely protects against Shiga toxicosis in animal models. Produced by...

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...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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