Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Giant cell reveals metabolic secrets

30.01.2012
Clarification of metabolite regulation and distribution in a large, freshwater algal cell illuminates important aspects of general cell metabolism
Chemical reactions within the cell produce intermediate and end products in the form of small molecules called metabolites. Using an approach called metabolomics, a research team led by Kazuki Saito of the RIKEN Plant Science Center, Yokohama and Tsuruoka, has elucidated the localization and dynamics of 125 metabolites within a single giant cell of the freshwater alga Chara australis1. The team’s findings provide important insights into the fundamental processes of cells in general.

Metabolites play important roles in the regulation of critical biological processes, such as growth, differentiation, and, in the case of so-called ‘secondary metabolites’, chemical defense. “Metabolomics is the systematic study of these unique chemical footprints, and involves identifying and characterizing the many metabolites found in a cell, tissue, organ or organism, as well as their production, distribution and dynamics,” explains Saito.

Because the enzymes involved in producing and converting different metabolites are often localized within subcellular structures called organelles, biologists generally assumed that metabolites are also highly compartmentalized within the cell, but none had demonstrated this comprehensively.
“Understanding the compartmentalization and dynamics of metabolites within single organelles represents an enormous technical challenge, not least because of the tiny size of these structures in most cells,” says Saito.

He and his colleagues therefore turned to C. australis as a model system (Fig. 1). This species has a particular cell type, called an internodal cell, which can grow to a length of around 20 centimeters. Because of their large size and volume, internodal cells are widely used to study various aspects of cell biology, including membrane physiology. The researchers purified single vacuoles, a type of organelle, from these cells. They then used a battery of sophisticated metabolomic techniques to determine the localization and dynamics of metabolites in the vacuole and other cellular fractions collectively known as the cytoplasm.

Focusing on phosphate compounds, Saito and colleagues detected 125 known metabolites, and showed that they fluctuated independently in the vacuole and cytoplasm under various light conditions. They therefore concluded that metabolites are spatially regulated within the cell, moving between the vacuole and the cytoplasm according to conditions. “Ours is the first study to confirm specific compartmentalization of comprehensive metabolites in a single vacuole from a single cell,” notes Saito.

Using a specialized microinjection technique, they researchers also observed metabolite transport across the membrane surrounding the vacuole. This suggested to them that the vacuolar membrane plays an important role in regulating transport of metabolites in and out of the vacuole.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Metabolomic Function Research Group, RIKEN Plant Science Center

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>