Cells flex their muscles to stir themselves
An international team of scientists led by the University of Göttingen has discovered a new biological transport mechanism in cells. The researchers from the Faculty of Physics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Rice University in Houston developed and applied a new method to visualize and track single molecules inside living cells and whole organisms.
An international team of scientists led by the University of Göttingen has discovered a new biological transport mechanism in cells.
Foto: M. Leunissen, Dutch Data Design
They found out that cells use the same motor proteins that serve in muscle contraction to vigorously and actively stir their interior. The results were published in the journal Science.
For long-distance transport cells usually employ motor proteins that are tied to lipid vesicles, the cell’s ‘cargo containers’. An example is the transport of proteins along the long axons of nerve cells.
This process involves considerable logistics: cargo, such as proteins synthesized elsewhere in the cell, needs to packed, attached to motor proteins and sent off in the right direction. By utilizing extremely thin nanotubes serving as beacons of light, the scientists now found that cells also use a much simpler and more economical mechanism to facilitate local transport in their crowded interior.
“Much in the way a chemist would accelerate a reaction by shaking a test tube, cells stir their cytoskeleton,“ explains the leader of the study, Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt of Göttingen University’s Third Institute of Physics. “This activity results in a global internal stirring of the cell.“ The new discovery not only promotes the understanding of cell dynamics, but also points to interesting possibilities in designing active technical materials.
Original publication: Nikta Fakhri et al. High resolution mapping of intracellular fluctuations using carbon nanotubes. Science 2014. Doi: 10.1126/science.1250170.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt
Georg-August University Göttingen
Faculty of Physics – Third Institute of Physics
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 551 39-7740
Thomas Richter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy