Actin Filaments Current Events

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New mechanism controlling proper organization of the muscle contractile units indentified
Muscle-specific protein cofilin-2 controls the length of actin filaments in muscle cells. (2014-11-07)

Video captures cellular 'workhorses' in action
Scientists at Yale University and in Grenoble France have succeeded in creating a movie showing the breakup of actin filaments, the thread-like structures inside cells that are crucial to their movement, maintenance and division. (2011-04-28)

Cytoskeletons shaking hands
For the fist time it is shown that specific contractile actin filament structures called arcs functionally interact with cytoplasmic intermediate filaments. (2015-06-03)

Cancer research: molecular machinery critical for cell's ability to move identified
Two specific proteins take apart the cell's actin filaments at one end and return the building blocks to the other end for a new round of polymerisation. The structure of this machinery driving cell motility may open new opportunities for developing therapeutics to inhibit cell migration in cancer. (2019-12-17)

Revealing the structure of axons
Recent studies have shown that under the axonal membrane, rings composed of actin filaments give the structure its flexibility. But those studies had not been able to define the precise architecture of these rings. By combining two microscopy techniques, optical and electronic, French researchers have now managed to observe these rings at the molecular scale. They are formed of long braided actin filaments, braided like a Christmas wreath. (2019-12-20)

Actin filaments control the shape of the cell structure that divides plant cells
A Japanese research group using microscopic video analysis provides deeper insight into the mechanics of plant cell division. Their analysis shows that actin filaments control the shape of cell structures, called phragmoplasts, that create the partition between two dividing plant cells. The discovery is expected to lead to a better understanding of plant cell division mechanisms. (2020-02-28)

Atomic model of tropomyosin bound to actin
New research sheds light on the interaction between the semi-flexible protein tropomyosin and actin thin filaments. The study, published by Cell Press on Feb. 15 in the Biophysical Journal, provides the first detailed atomic model of tropomyosin bound to actin and significantly advances the understanding of the dynamic relationship between these key cellular proteins. (2011-02-15)

Stop or go: The cell maintains its fine motility balance with the help of tropomodulin
Tropomodulin maintains the fine balance between the protein machineries responsible for cell movement and morphogenesis. Disturbances in this balance are common in many diseases, for example, invasive cancers. (2020-02-17)

A budding role for a cellular dynamo
In a groundbreaking new study in the current issue of Developmental Cell, Brandeis researchers raise the curtain on how actin maintains just the right filament length to keep the cell healthy and happily dividing. (2009-02-18)

How cells recycle the machinery that drives their motility?
Research groups at University of Helsinki and Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, discovered a new molecular mechanism that promotes cell migration. The discovery sheds light on the mechanisms that drive uncontrolled movement of cancer cells, and also revises the 'text book view' of cell migration. (2021-02-09)

Skeleton key for cancer metastasis
Cancer cells need all three of their cytoskeletons -- actin, microtubules and intermediate filaments -- to metastasize, according to a study published online on April 26 in the Journal of Cell Biology. (2010-04-26)

Salmonella utilize multiple modes of infection
Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany, have discovered a new, hitherto unknown mechanism of Salmonella invasion into gut cells: In this entry mode, the bacteria exploit the muscle power of cells to be pulled into the host cell cytoplasm. Thus, the strategies Salmonella use to infect cells are more complex than previously thought. (2011-04-21)

Simulations show fundamental interactions inside the cell
Actin filaments have several important functions inside cells. For one, they support the cell membrane by binding to it. However, scientists did not know exactly how the actin interacts with the membrane lipids. Simulations performed at the University of Groningen, supported by experiments, provide a molecular view on this very fundamental process. The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 2, 2020. (2020-03-03)

Filaments that structure DNA
Researchers discover how outside stimuli drive the formation and reorganization of the cytoskeleton in the nucleus of mammalian cells. (2019-11-22)

MIT researchers tug at molecules with optical tweezers
MIT researchers have developed a novel technique to measure the strength of the bonds between two protein molecules important in cell machinery: gently tugging them apart with light beams. (2008-06-30)

Tumor suppressor APC could stop cancer through its effect on actin cytoskeleton
The APC protein serves as the colon's guardian, keeping tumors at bay. Now researchers reveal a new function for the protein: helping to renovate the cytoskeleton by triggering actin assembly. The result suggests a second way that mutations in APC could lead to cancer. The study appears online on June 21 in the Journal of Cell Biology. (2010-06-21)

Frozen: Cutting-edge technology reveals structures within cells
Temperatures of minus 196 degrees Celsius enable high-resolution imaging of the cell's interior. Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria are thus able to show for the first time how the active form of a protein complex plays critical roles in cell motility and other important biological functions look like. This study is published in the journal Nature Communications. (2020-12-22)

Terahertz wave activates filamentation of actin
A team of researchers have discovered that terahertz (THz) wave irradiation activates the filamentation of actin protein. Drs. Shota Yamazaki and Masahiko Harata (Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University); Dr. Yuichi Ogawa (Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University); Dr. Hiromichi Hoshina (THz imaging and the sensing team at RIKEN); and Dr. Toshitaka Idehara (FIR-UF at University of Fukui) have made this important discovery, which offers a new possibility for the manipulation of cellular functions. (2018-08-29)

Terahertz radiation can disrupt proteins in living cells
Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics and collaborators have discovered that terahertz radiation, contradicting conventional belief, can disrupt proteins in living cells without killing the cells. (2020-06-02)

UVa scientists detail salmonella protein
A protein in Salmonella bacteria called SipA invades healthy human cells by using two arms in a 'stapling' action, according to scientists at the University of Virginia Health System. The UVa researchers, working with colleagues at Rockefeller University in New York, report their findings in the September 26 edition of Science magazine. (2003-09-25)

How actin networks are actin'
The Arp2/3 complex is essential for actin assembly and motility in many cell processes, and a large number of proteins have been found to bind and regulate it in vitro. A critical challenge is to understand the actions of these proteins in cells, especially in settings where multiple regulators are present. (2008-01-02)

Locating muscle proteins
Max Planck scientists bring the basis of muscle movement into sharper focus. (2012-07-19)

Study shows how disruption of spectrin-actin network causes lens cells in the eye to lose shape
A network of proteins underlying the plasma membrane keeps epithelial cells in shape and maintains their orderly hexagonal packing in the mouse lens, say Nowak et al. (2009-09-14)

Unlocking long-hidden mechanisms of plant cell division
In a new paper by cell biologist Magdalena Bezanilla of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she and her doctoral student Shu-Zon Wu present a detailed new model that for the first time proposes how plant cells precisely position a 'dynamic and complex' structure called a phragmoplast at the cell center during every division and how it directs cytokinesis. The work is reported in the current issue of the journal, eLife. (2014-09-25)

Understanding the migration of cancer cells
Lamellipodia and filopodia are dynamic surface extensions of the cell which play a pivotal role in cell migration, invasion and wound healing. Biochemists from Frankfurt University have succeeded in clarifying the interplay between the two types of protrusions in regulating both the migratory and invasive abilities of cancer cells. They hope to exploit their exciting findings for the development of more specific cancer therapies. (2008-06-22)

Long polymer chains dance the conga
University of Illinois researchers have demonstrated a new model for the motion of actin filaments, the molecules that give a cell its structure. Researchers have long assumed that actin filaments could move anywhere within a confined cylinder of space, like a snake slithering through a pipe. However, this study shows that a filament moves more like a conga line on a crowded dance floor: sometimes it's a tight squeeze. (2010-03-16)

Molecular muscle motor found to move backwards
Filaments of actin run through every cell, serving as a kind of railroad along which myosin transports vital materials. Until now, scientists believed the fifteen known variants of myosin all moved in only one direction on actin. Now, scientists have discovered that the myosin VI variant moves backwards on actin. (1999-09-30)

Mayo Clinic researchers discover and manipulate molecular interplay that moves cancer cells
Based on research that reveals new insight into mechanisms that allow invasive tumor cells to move, researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have a new understanding about how to stop cancer from spreading. A cancer that spreads elsewhere in the body, known as metastasis, is the process that most often leads to death from the disease. (2009-03-29)

Detailed picture of how myoV 'walks' along actin tracks
A new study in the Journal of General Physiology uses state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy to provide a striking 3-D picture of how class V myosins (myoV) (2012-01-30)

How to braid nanoropes
Max Planck scientists identify essential control parameters for the assembly of filament bundles. (2005-10-14)

Self-forming biological scaffolding
A new model system of the cellular skeletons of living cells is akin to a mini-laboratory designed to explore how the cells' functional structures assemble. A paper about to be published in EPJ E by physicist Volker Schaller and his colleagues from the Technical University Munich, Germany, presents one hypothesis concerning self-organization. It hinges on the findings that a homogeneous protein network, once subjected to stresses generated by molecular motors, compacts into highly condensed fibers. (2012-09-19)

Cells' steering wheel
A new mechanism clarifies how cells migrate. (2016-08-22)

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

Key finding in rare muscle disease
A group of researchers has discovered a number of children suffering from rare muscle diseases whose bodies have (2007-01-17)

Scientists identify molecular cause for one form of deafness
Scientists exploring the physics of hearing have found an underlying molecular cause for one form of deafness, and a conceptual connection between deafness and the organization of liquid crystals, which are used in flat-panel displays. (2007-02-05)

Rong Li Lab probes mechanism of asymmetry in meiotic cell division
The Stowers Institute's Rong Li Lab has characterized a mechanism that allows for asymmetrical cell division during meiosis in oocytes. By tracking chromosome movement in live mouse oocytes, the team discovered that chromosomes can recruit to their vicinity a protein called formin-2. This protein allows the oocyte to retain the majority of the cytoplasm -- a requirement for embryonic development after fertilization -- while the other daughter cell (called a polar body) resulting from the asymmetric division gets only a minimal amount and subsequently dies. (2008-10-07)

Penn researchers discover 'modus operandi' of heart muscle protein
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that a protein called leiomodin promotes the assembly of an important heart muscle protein called actin. What's more, Lmod directs the assembly of actin to form the pumping unit of the heart. (2008-04-10)

The rub with friction
In a new paper in Nature Materials, Brandeis University professor Zvonomir Dogic and his lab explored friction at the microscopic level. They discovered that the force generating friction is much stronger than previously thought. The discovery is an important step toward understanding the physics of the cellular and molecular world and designing the next generation of microscopic and nanotechnologies. (2015-03-02)

Research demonstrates a molecular dance that keeps your heart beating
New research demonstrates a molecular dance that keeps your heart beating. The findings could someday lead to improved diagnostics and medical treatments for serious and sometimes devastating hereditary heart conditions. (2020-10-14)

In immune cells, super-resolution imaging reveals natural killers' M.O.
By making use of a new (2011-09-13)

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