Every cell in the body has what James Spudich, PhD, calls "a dynamic city plan" comprised of molecular highways, construction crews, street signs, cars, fuel and exhaust. Maintenance of this highly organized structure is fundamental to the development and function of all cells, Spudich says, and much of it can be understood by figuring out how the molecular motors do the work to keep cells orderly.
Spudich, biochemistry professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Stanford physics graduate student David M. Altman report in the March 5 issue of Cell how a type of molecular motor provides the rigidity needed by the tiny sensors in the inner ear in order to respond to sound. They found that this motor creates the proper amount of tension in the sensors and anchors itself to maintain that tension.
"Our general feeling is that tension-sensitive machines are at the heart of the dynamic city plan," said Spudich. Their National Institutes of Health-funded study has implications far beyond how an obscure molecule provides rigidity for a protein in the inner ear. A motor able to create structural changes by taking up slack in proteins and clamping down so that they remain in a rigid position may help explain many intricacies of cellular organization, such as how chromosomes line up and separate during cell division.
Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
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Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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