Cells flex their muscles to stir themselves
An international team of scientists led by the University of Göttingen has discovered a new biological transport mechanism in cells. The researchers from the Faculty of Physics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Rice University in Houston developed and applied a new method to visualize and track single molecules inside living cells and whole organisms.
An international team of scientists led by the University of Göttingen has discovered a new biological transport mechanism in cells.
Foto: M. Leunissen, Dutch Data Design
They found out that cells use the same motor proteins that serve in muscle contraction to vigorously and actively stir their interior. The results were published in the journal Science.
For long-distance transport cells usually employ motor proteins that are tied to lipid vesicles, the cell’s ‘cargo containers’. An example is the transport of proteins along the long axons of nerve cells.
This process involves considerable logistics: cargo, such as proteins synthesized elsewhere in the cell, needs to packed, attached to motor proteins and sent off in the right direction. By utilizing extremely thin nanotubes serving as beacons of light, the scientists now found that cells also use a much simpler and more economical mechanism to facilitate local transport in their crowded interior.
“Much in the way a chemist would accelerate a reaction by shaking a test tube, cells stir their cytoskeleton,“ explains the leader of the study, Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt of Göttingen University’s Third Institute of Physics. “This activity results in a global internal stirring of the cell.“ The new discovery not only promotes the understanding of cell dynamics, but also points to interesting possibilities in designing active technical materials.
Original publication: Nikta Fakhri et al. High resolution mapping of intracellular fluctuations using carbon nanotubes. Science 2014. Doi: 10.1126/science.1250170.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt
Georg-August University Göttingen
Faculty of Physics – Third Institute of Physics
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 551 39-7740
Thomas Richter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy