News from the Cell Biology Meeting in San Francisco
Bushwhacking through the cellular jungle, researchers are always relieved to stumble across a known molecular pathway. Imagine their excitement at finding a major intersection in unmapped territory. Antoine Muchir and Howard Worman at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York and their colleagues in France, have discovered a cellular "crossroads" that links the function of the MAP kinase pathway, long implicated in heart failure, to A-type nuclear lamins. Mutations in LMNA, the gene encoding all A-type lamins, cause at least two heritable diseases that affect the heart: Dilated Cardiomyopathy with conduction system defects (DC) and Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (EDMD), which affects muscles and tendons in addition to causing life-threatening cardiomyopathy and cardiac conduction system defects. Muchir presented the findings Sunday at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco.
Instead of using a machete, these cellular trailblazers followed a mouse. The researchers created a "knock-in" model mouse by replacing the normal mouse LMNA gene with a mutated human gene that causes EDMD. Lamin proteins form a network of filaments inside the nucleus, conferring shape and mechanical stability, but they are also "used" by many other proteins and pathways in the nucleus, for a variety of purposes. Mutations in LMNA cause a wide range of human diseases--besides DC and EDMD, these "laminopathies" include other heritable forms of muscular dystrophy, lipodystrophy, neuropathy, bone disorders and accelerated aging (progeria) syndromes.
John Fleischman | EurekAlert!
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More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
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