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 Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: 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 >>>