Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New research shows way to how cells breathe

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:

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:

Maria Erlandsson | idw
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

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: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>