Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sea Skate Experiment Sheds Light on Human Cell Transport

30.03.2005


Leon Goldstein, a professor of medical science at Brown Medical School, set out to plumb a molecular mystery.



Along with Mark Musch, a longtime University of Chicago collaborator, Goldstein conducted an experiment with the red blood cells of skates to understand how these skinny, graceful fish can swim from salt water to fresh water. For humans, such a drastic environmental change would prompt an equally drastic physiological change: Our cells would take in too much water, diluting blood and other body fluids and rapidly causing death. So how do skates do it?

Goldstein and Musch learned how cellular channels, or gates, spring into action when skate red blood cells become engorged with water. Vesicles, or tiny fluid-filled sacs, carry these gates up to the cell membrane. The vesicles are inserted into the membrane and a chemical process known as phosphorylation takes place. This activates the gates, which open to release excess water along with salts and other organic material.


The researchers made their discovery by using a plant-based substance to block an enzyme that causes phosphorylation. The result: The gates wouldn’t open. These findings are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, along with an accompanying editorial.

Goldstein said the results are important for a few reasons.

Because skate red blood cells closely resemble cells in the human kidney, the findings shed light on how these organs cope with excess water. But Goldstein and Musch also believe the mechanisms that trigger this cellular “release valve” are universal.

“We think that vesicle insertion, coupled with phosphorylation, is a broad mechanism for getting substances in and out of cells,” Goldstein said. “The idea that we can apply this knowledge to other cells and other animals – including humans – is what makes the findings exciting.”

In type 1 diabetes, cells lose their ability to transport glucose. Goldstein and Musch say their findings could explain the problem. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. Without that hormone, vesicles aren’t inserted into cell membranes – and glucose can’t be moved between cells.

And when channels are blocked, damaged cells can’t die. This cell “suicide” is one of the body’s defenses against cancer. “There is a possible relationship between operation of these channels and the uncontrolled multiplication of cancer cells,” Goldstein said. “If so, this research points up an important area for future research.”

The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health funded the work.

Wendy Lawton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>