An EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) team led by professor Melody Swartz has demonstrated for the first time that the presence of very slow biological flows affects the extracellular environment in ways that are critical for tissue formation and cell migration. Their results will appear online the week of October 24 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A major challenge for tissue engineering is to identify the essential environmental ingredients that cells need in order to communicate, migrate, and organize into living tissues. One of these ingredients is the presence, outside the cell, of minute changes in the concentration of special proteins called morphogens. Cells can sense even the tiniest differences in morphogen concentration and will alter their functions accordingly. In embryonic development, stem cells differentiate into organs by means of the actions of morphogens. And even cancer cells can use morphogens to grow, induce a blood supply, and metastasize.
Although the concept of cell organization in response to these morphogen gradients is well documented, little is known about how these subtle concentration changes get established the first place, particularly within the dynamic environment of a real tissue. This research provides evidence that tiny biophysical forces in the extracellular environment may play an important role.
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Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
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Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
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Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
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The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
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