The envelope acts as a barrier between the outer cell compartment, called the cytoplasm, and DNA stored in the cell nucleus. It regulates which molecules are allowed to pass back and forth between the two compartments. Most of this traffic passes through basket-shaped passageways called nuclear pores, which consist of intricately-woven proteins. “We haven't yet identified all the molecules in the nuclear envelope, and many questions remain about the process by which molecules are granted or denied passage,” says Peter Askjaer of IRB.
The new study shows that a protein called MEL-28 is a component of nuclear pores in the worm C. elegans, one of biology's most important model organisms. More importantly, it reveals that MEL-28 is one of the key architects as bits of membrane and proteins are drawn together to build new envelopes.
When scientists blocked the activity of MEL-28, they discovered that patches of membranes attached themselves to DNA but couldn't seal themselves off into a complete envelope. A step-by-step analysis showed that without the protein, other molecules are not drawn together properly as envelopes are rebuilt. The components were scrambled; pores were no longer built, and the wrong molecules were able to get access to DNA. Because MEL-28 remains attached to DNA during the entire process of cell division, the scientists believe it plays a crucial role early in the formation of the envelope.
MEL-28 has a close relative in human cells; one of the researchers’ future projects will be to examine whether this molecule plays a similar role in our own species. Oddly-shaped nuclear envelopes are seen in human genetic diseases such as progeria, a rare condition that causes affected children to age prematurely, and some types of muscular dystrophies. “Understanding how the nuclear envelope forms in the first place may eventually help us understand how changes in it can cause these diseases and potentially how they can be treated,” says Askjaer.
Sarah Sherwood | alfa
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
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.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences