Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research shows way to how cells breathe

29.05.2007
Inhaling oxygen is only the first step in a long journey through the nooks and crannies of the body. The oxygen is then transported via the blood to all cells in the body. The same goes for nourishment from food we eat.

Inside the cell, the oxygen and nourishment are transformed into energy and carbon dioxide, which we breathe out. In a new dissertation from Stockholm University in Sweden, Kristina Faxén has mapped how so-called cell breathing takes place.

"I am studying how cells breathe. In recent years, more and more diseases, like Alzheimer's, have shown to have to do with cell respiration. The findings are expected ultimately to lead to drugs specifically designed for various disorders, although that's far down the road," says Kristina Faxén, a doctoral candidate at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Stockholm University in Sweden.

Every cell contains many tiny energy power plants -­ the mitochondria. The enzymes that govern cell breathing are located in membranes that surround the mitochondria. Kristina Faxén has analyzed one of these enzymes-­cytochromoxidase. This is a pump that distributes positive and negative charges to opposite sides of the membrane, thereby functioning roughly like a battery charger that helps to "charge our inner batteries." These batteries power all bodily functions, such as our muscles, brain, and digestion.

"To study this 'battery charger' my colleagues and I have managed to construct artificial cells consisting of a globe-shaped membrane, something like a soap bubble, but only 30 nanometers (millionths of a millimeter) in diameter. Then we introduced cytochromoxidase to the membrane. In this way, it can function just as in a living cell," she says.

One thing that makes the reaction difficult to study is how quickly it happens. A single 'breath' in the cell takes only a thousandth of a second. The laboratory at Stockholm University is one of the few in the world that possesses the advanced laser technology needed to study such rapid processes.

"Several research teams around the world have studied molecular pumps, trying to understand how they work. But there has been no unanimity about any general mechanism. Our findings have solved some of the conflicts. Previously we presented an extremely simple and general principle for the functioning of the pumps that shows how a swinging arm fetches positive charges, protons, on one side of the membrane and leaves them on the other side. The findings of my dissertation support this model," says Kristina Faxén.

Link to posting of dissertation information: http://www.diva-portal.org/su/abstract.xsql?dbid=6806

For further information, please contact:
Kristina Faxén, doctoral candidate, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, phone: +46 (0)8-16 27 15; cell phone: +46 (0)734-388357; e-mail: Kristina.Faxen@dbb.su.se

Maria Erlandsson | idw
Further information:
http://www.diva-portal.org/su/abstract.xsql?dbid=6806

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>