Popular Actin Filaments News and Current Events

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It is easier for a DNA knot...
How can long DNA filaments, which have convoluted and highly knotted structure, manage to pass through the tiny pores of biological systems? This is the fascinating question addressed by Antonio Suma and Cristian Micheletti, researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste who used computer simulations to investigate the options available to the genetic material in such situations. The study has just been published in PNAS. (2017-03-28)

How whip-like cell appendages promote bodily fluid flow
Researchers at Nagoya University revealed that a molecule called Daple is essential for the correct orientation and coordinated beating of cilia on the surface of cells lining ventricles in the brain. Without Daple, the cilia develop a random arrangement and cannot produce a uniform flow of CSF. This in turn leads to a build-up of fluid, which is associated with swelling of the head, known as hydrocephalus. (2017-08-18)

Blood vessels sprout under pressure
It is blood pressure that drives the opening of small capillaries during angiogenesis. A team of researchers led by Prof. Holger Gerhardt of the MDC observed the process for the first time and published their findings in Nature Cell Biology (Joint press release by the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Charité, German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)). (2016-02-29)

MSU-based scientists described the collision of a shock wave and a 'star cradle'
A mathematician from MSU together with a Russian colleague modeled the formation of filaments (thread-like matter conglomerates) after the collision of a shock wave with molecular clouds in the interstellar space. The work will help the scientists better understand the birth of stars and star systems. The results of the study were published in Computers and Fluids magazine. (2018-03-26)

New images reveal how the ear's sensory hairs take shape
Our ability to hear relies on tiny bundles of hair-like sensors inside the inner ear. Scientists have identified a key component of the machinery that makes these bundles grow in an orderly fashion. (2018-02-09)

Healthy red blood cells owe their shape to muscle-like structures
The findings could shed light on sickle cell diseases and other disorders where red blood cells are deformed. (2018-04-04)

How exercise could help fight drug addiction
The siren call of addictive drugs can be hard to resist, and returning to the environment where drugs were previously taken can make resistance that much harder. However, addicts who exercise appear to be less vulnerable to the impact of these environmental cues. Now, research with mice suggests that exercise might strengthen a drug user's resolve by altering the production of peptides in the brain, according to a study in the journal ACS Omega. (2018-11-14)

3-D printed coral could help endangered reefs
Threats to coral reefs are everywhere--rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, fishing and other human activities. But new research from the University of Delaware shows that 3-D printed coral can provide a structural starter kit for reef organisms and can become part of the landscape as fish and coral build their homes around the artificial coral. (2019-10-16)

Watch fat cells help heal a wound in a fly
Fat body cells in Drosophila play a surprising role in sealing wounds and preventing infection, researchers at the University of Bristol report February 26 in the journal Developmental Cell. The cells, which were previously thought to be immobile, propel themselves forward toward wounds with a wormlike wave motion, rather than adhering to and pushing off of other structures like most motile cells do. (2018-02-26)

Deformation control and mass transfer in the tunic of Halocynthia roretzi
It has been previously reported that the tunic of Halocynthia roretzi, mainly composed of cellulose, is actively deformed with mass transfer by the mechanical stimuli. In this study, how the tunic deforms in response to the mechanical environment was investigated. (2018-06-15)

'Silent code' of nucleotides, not amino acids, determines functions of vital proteins
Humans possess six forms of the protein actin, which perform essential functions in the body. Two in particular, β-actin and γ-actin, are nearly identical, only differing by four amino acids. Yet these near-twin proteins carry out distinct roles. A long standing question for biologists has been, how is this possible? New findings from the University of Pennsylvania have pointed to a surprising answer. The differing functions of these proteins are determined not by their amino acid sequences but by their genetic code. (2018-01-03)

Breathtaking gene discovery in Dalmatian dogs
University of Helsinki researchers have uncovered a novel gene associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome in dogs. The new research on this fatal disease may also help us understand the mechanisms of respiratory diseases in humans. (2017-03-14)

For nanomedicine, cell sex matters
A research team has demonstrated that cell sex considerably influenced cellular uptake of nanoparticles and found that cells from men and women responded differently to reprogramming techniques used to enhance the ability of the cells to differentiate into a greater variety of cell types. (2018-03-14)

Tiny distortions in universe's oldest light reveal strands in cosmic web
Scientists have decoded faint distortions in the patterns of the universe's earliest light to map huge tubelike structures invisible to our eyes -- known as filaments -- that serve as superhighways for delivering matter to dense hubs such as galaxy clusters. (2018-04-10)

UBC researchers unlock secrets of plant development
University of British Columbia researchers have discovered an internal messaging system that plants use to manage the growth and division of their cells. Understanding this negative-feedback loop that helps plants survive under harsh conditions could enable innovations in agriculture, forestry and conservation as climate change takes hold. (2018-08-23)

Exchanges of identity in deep space
By reproducing the complexity of the cosmos through unprecedented simulations, a new study highlights the importance of the possible behaviour of very high energy photons. In their journey through intergalactic magnetic fields, they could be transformed into axions and thus avoid being absorbed (2017-09-07)

Researchers raise a 170-million-year question over mysterious moss gene
A surprise discovery provides insight into how cells build their external walls and raises questions about a one-of-a-kind, fused gene. (2018-02-12)

Abnormalities in a protein affecting how nerve cells change shape
Amsterdam, NL, April 3, 2019 - Since 1993, when the gene that causes Huntington's disease (HD) was identified, there has been intense focus on understanding how this genetic mutation causes the disease's severe progressive neural deterioration. (2019-04-03)

Too-tight membrane keeps cells from splitting
Scientists uncover how one protein keeps conditions 'just right' so that cells can easily divide into two identical daughter cells. (2019-02-28)

The discovery of a third form of flagella-mediated motility shown by symbiotic bacteria
Research Key Points - The Burkholderia symbiont of bean bugs swims by wrapping its rotary structure, called a flagellar filament, around its cell body. - This flagellar filament-wrapping motility is an advantage for moving around in sticky environments and on uneven extracellular matrix surfaces. - This unique form of motility is not only interesting in terms of fundamental research but also may contribute to applied research such as the future development of insecticides. (2018-02-05)

Cell polarity -- An aurora over the pole
A recent research led by Assistant Professor Fumio Motegi, Principal Investigator at the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore, has identified the master switch that triggers the symmetry breaking process in the zygotes of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. (2019-05-17)

UMaine-led team discovers protein, lipid connection that could aid new influenza therapies
For the first time, a connection is shown between influenza virus surface protein HA and host cell lipid PIP2. PIP2 controls cellular functions through signaling pathways it modulates. Many of these pathways control the actin cytoskeleton, a structural framework for cell shape, motility and membrane organization. Many proteins seen with HA are known to control the actin cytoskeleton and have known binding to PIP2, but the connection was not previously explained. (2019-03-05)

New research reveals clearest infrared image yet of the center of our galaxy
A research team has published a new study lead by Pat Roche, professor of astrophysics at The University of Oxford, and Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio. It reveals a new high resolution map of the magnetic field lines in gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. (2018-02-26)

Quantum dots illuminate transport within the cell
Biophysicists from Utrecht University have developed a strategy for using light-emitting nanocrystals as a marker in living cells. By recording the movements of these quantum dots, they can clarify the structure and dynamics of the cytoskeleton. Their findings were published today in Nature Communications. (2017-03-21)

Fruit fly muscles with a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy mutation don't relax properly
Using fruit flies, Johns Hopkins researchers have figured out why a particular inherited human heart condition that is almost always due to genetic mutations causes the heart to enlarge, thicken and fail. They found that one such mutation interferes with heart muscle's ability to relax after contracting, and prevents the heart from fully filling with blood and pumping it out. (2017-10-09)

Many more bacteria have electrically conducting filaments
Microbiologists led by Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is internationally known for having discovered electrically conducting microfilaments or 'nanowires' in the bacterium Geobacter, announce in a new paper this month that they have discovered the unexpected structures in many other species, greatly broadening the research field on electrically conducting filaments. (2017-12-08)

First an alga, then a squid, enigmatic fossil is actually a fish
A fossil slab discovered in Kansas 70 years ago and twice misidentified -- first as a green alga and then as a cephalopod -- has been reinterpreted as the preserved remains of a large cartilaginous fish, the group that includes sharks and rays. In a study published in the Journal of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History researchers describe the fishy characteristics of the animal, which lived between 70-85 million years ago. (2018-04-16)

Double stranded RNA treatment can reduce fertility of adult house fly pests
Double stranded RNA (dsRNA) can effectively reduce house fly fertility, and shows promise as a pest control method, according to a study published Jan. 17, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Neil Sanscrainte from the USDA/ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, US, and colleagues. (2018-01-17)

Research dispels misconception of superconductivity in niobium compound
Physics manuals have considered niobium boride to be superconductive for more than six decades. In a study conducted by American and Brazilian scientists, scanning electron microscopic analysis showed the material presents two distinct crystalline phases, being that superconductivity is restricted to the minority phase. The discovery paves the way for technological applications of other superconducting materials. (2017-12-07)

Chromatin structure: Slip-sliding away...
The DNA in the cell nucleus is highly condensed, and genes must be rendered accessible before they can be activated. An LMU team has now described the action of a protein complex that serves as a yardstick to measure lengths of exposed DNA. (2018-09-04)

FSU researchers determine a critical factor in workings of proteins
Scientists know that a better understanding of how proteins bond could lead to more effective treatments for genetic disorders and other life-threatening conditions. Now, a pair of Florida State University researchers' new theory has been proven to accurately predict the association rate for proteins. Their theory is outlined in the February issue of the scientific journal Structure. (2007-02-14)

Researchers solve first structure of a key to intact DNA inheritance
Researchers have solved the structure of a DNA-protein complex that is crucial in the spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria. Knowing this structure also provides fundamental insight into how cells successfully divide into two new cells with intact DNA (2007-12-20)

Once hidden cellular structures emerge in fight against viruses
A University of Arizona researcher describes how a cellular structure that was once lost to science combats attacks waged in the 'world's oldest war.' (2019-11-26)

Researchers use 3D printer to print glass
For the first time, researchers have successfully 3D printed chalcogenide glass, a unique material used to make optical components that operate at mid-infrared wavelengths. The ability to 3D print this glass could make it possible to manufacture complex glass components and optical fibers for new types of low-cost sensors, telecommunications components and biomedical devices. (2019-04-18)

The origins of asymmetry: A protein that makes you do the twist
Asymmetry plays a major role in biology at every scale: think of DNA spirals, the fact that the human heart is positioned on the left, our preference to use our left or right hand. An international team led by a CNRS researcher has shown how a single protein induces a spiral motion in another molecule. Through a domino effect, this causes cells, organs, and indeed the entire body to twist, triggering lateralized behaviour. (2018-11-22)

Cosmic environments and their influence in star formation
In a joint collaboration between the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Riverside, astronomers have performed an extensive study of the properties of galaxies within filaments formed at different times during the age of the universe. (2017-03-06)

Atomic resolution of muscle contraction
Osaka University researchers capture atomic images of muscle molecules in action, giving possibility of new nanomachines. (2017-03-08)

New polyelectrolyte inks create fine-scale structures through direct writing
Like spiders spinning webs, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are creating complex, three-dimensional structures with micron-size features using a robotic deposition process called direct-write assembly. (2004-03-24)

Tumor cells get stiff before becoming invasive
A study published now on Nature Communications shows that breast cancer cells undergo a stiffening state prior to acquiring malignant features and becoming invasive. The discovery made by a research team led by Florence Janody, from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC; Portugal), identifies a new signal in tumor cells that can be further explored when designing cancer-targeting therapies. (2017-05-16)

NIAID scientists assess transmission risk of familial human prion diseases to mice
Familial human prion diseases are passed within families and are associated with 34 known prion protein mutations. To determine whether three of the unstudied mutations are transmissible, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) exposed research mice to brain samples from three people who died from a familial prion disease. After observing the mice for about two years, they found two of the mutations, Y226X and G131V, are transmissible. (2018-03-08)

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