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Discovery of how protein changes shape could lead to new cancer-fighting drugs
By studying the crystal structure of a protein molecule, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas scientists have discovered an important cell-regulation process that impacts cancer development and may lead to the development of new cancer-fighting drugs. (2000-01-30)

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)

From mother to daughters: A central mystery in cell division solved
Researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key step required for cell division in a study that could help improve therapies to treat cancer. Their work describing the mechanism of the contractile ring -- a structure that pinches the mother cell into two daughter cells -- has been published in the Dec. 5 issue of the journal Science. (2008-12-08)

Einstein scientists discover how protein crucial for motion is synthesised at the right place in the cell
Einstein scientists show how protein synthesis is directed towards certain regions of a cell. This process is crucial for the cellular motility that governs nerve growth, wound healing and cancer metastasis. (2005-11-23)

Bacterial viruses: Tools of the trade
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich demonstrate for the first time that bacteriophages -- bacterial viruses -- carry genetic instructions for proteins that mediate the transport of their DNA to specialized replication sites in the host cell. (2015-04-30)

Giant Thai insect reveals clues to human heart disease
A Florida State University professor used an electron microscope to capture the first three-dimensional image of a tiny filament, or strand, of an essential muscle that the palm-sized water bug Lethocerus indicus uses to fly. This filament is made of chains of a protein called myosin, which produce the power needed to contract muscles. This image shows for the first time the individual molecules in the filament in a relaxed state, which is necessary to re-extend muscles. (2016-10-03)

In groundbreaking research, Yale and Salk Institute scientists reveal the structure of a key component that makes cells move
Researchers at Yale and the Salk Institute have determined the structure of a set of proteins called the Arp2/3 complex that helps cells move, paving the way for understanding how cells find bacteria and protect against infections. (2001-11-22)

Research at Marshall University may lead to new ways to transport and manipulate molecules
Dr. Eric Blough, an associate professor in Marshall University's Department of Biological Sciences, said he and his colleagues have shown how bionanomotors can be used some day to move and manipulate molecules at the nanoscale. Their research will be published in the Feb. 5 issue of the research journal Small. (2010-02-02)

Causative gene for sensorineural hearing loss identified
A causative gene for a highly common type of hearing loss (sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL) has been identified by a group of Japanese researchers, who successfully replicated the condition using a transgenic mouse. This discovery could potentially be used to develop new treatments for hearing loss. The findings were published on Oct. 5 in the online version of EMBO Molecular Medicine. (2016-10-06)

Physics of Life -- Lane change in the cytoskeleton
Many amphibians and fish are able to change their color in order to better adapt to their environment. Munich-based scientists have now investigated the molecular mechanisms in the cytoskeleton necessary for this and revealed potential evolutionary paths. (2020-02-12)

Self-assembled nano-capsules resemble bacterial cell walls
By manipulating simple and nonspecific interactions, researchers have discovered a way to make chemicals spontaneously self-assemble into ribbon-like tubules that resemble bacterial cell walls. The micrometer-sized tubules have potential applications in drug delivery systems and as templates for the synthesis of inorganic nanostructured materials. (2000-07-02)

Pinched off
During the final stage of cell division, a short-lived contractile ring constricts the cellular membrane and eventually separates the dividing cell in two. Although this (2012-06-11)

Scientists discover that host cell lipids facilitate bacterial movement
When the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes invades the body, it commandeers its host cell's actin cytoskeleton to invade other cells. In a report published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a group of scientists provide insight into the molecular mechanisms behind this infection technique. (2005-03-21)

Relaxation leads to lower elasticity
As they age many materials exhibit changes in their properties. Although such phenomena crop up in many domains, the underlying processes are oftentimes not fully understood. Particularly interesting in this context are polymer materials found in plastics and in biological systems. A group led by physicists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen has developed a model system casting light on essential aspects of these processes. The March issue of Nature Materials presents their results. (2011-03-01)

Biophysics: Formation of swarms in nanosystems
One of the striking features of self-organization in biomolecular systems is the capacity of assemblies of filamentous particles for synchronous motion. Physicists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich now provide new insights into how such movements are coordinated. (2015-08-18)

Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning
New research from scientists at the University of Kent has shown for the first time how the structures inside cells are regulated -- a breakthrough that could have a major impact on cancer therapy development. (2014-07-29)

Cell 'bones' mystery solved with supercomputers
Supercomputer simulations allocated by XSEDE on TACC's Stampede2 have helped solve the mystery of how actin filaments polymerize. University of Chicago and Yale researchers employed all-atom molecular dynamics to show structural basis for polymerization kinetics at polarized ends of actin filaments. This fundamental research could be applied to treatments to stop cancer spread, develop self-healing materials, and more. (2021-01-26)

The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope
The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different versions of this protein in the parasite. Their results may in the future contribute to the development of tailor-made drugs against malaria -- a disease that causes more than half a million deaths per year. (2014-04-17)

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease
A researcher at the UPV/EHU has participated in a study describing what it is during the early stages of Alzheimer's that triggers the loss of dynamics and subsequent impairment of the dendritic spines, the compartments of the neurons responsible for receiving nerve impulses from other neurons. The role played by the actin cytoskeleton of these compartments and how it responds in the presence of beta-amyloid peptides, the component most commonly associated with Alzheimer's, have been described. (2019-01-17)

Protein complex found to regulate first step in human blood clotting
Using human blood, Brown University scientists show that a complex of seven proteins is required for platelets to form the shape-changing filaments that begin a blood clot. Understanding this dynamic could lead to better treatments for abnormal clotting, which is the chief cause of stroke. The study appears in the June 15 issue of Blood. (2002-06-03)

Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed in Penn study
Adding to the growing fundamental understanding of the machinery of muscle cells, a group of biophysicists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania describe in the journal Science this week -- in minute detail -- how actin filaments are stabilized at one of their ends to form a basic muscle structure called the sarcomere. (2014-07-24)

How cells use mechanical tension sensors to interact with their environment
In a painstaking experiment, scientists suspended a single protein filament between two microscopic beads. Their results have shed light on an elusive process in which cells receive and respond to mechanical cues. (2020-10-26)

A stepwise retreat: How immune cells catch pathogens
To protect us from disease our immune system employs macrophages, cells that roam our body in search of disease-causing bacteria. With the help of long tentacle-like protrusions, macrophages can catch suspicious particles, pull them towards their cell bodies, internalize and destroy them. Using a special microscopy technique, researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory now for the first time tracked the dynamic behavior of these tentacles in three dimensions. (2007-07-11)

Spiders help scientists discover how muscles relax
Using muscle tissue from tarantulas, a HHMI international research scholar and colleagues have figured out the detailed structure and arrangement of the miniature molecular motors that control movement. Their work, which takes advantage of a new technique for visualizing tissues in their natural state, provides new insights into the molecular basis of muscle relaxation, and perhaps its activation too. (2005-08-24)

Movement of chromosome in nucleus visualized
Researchers from the University of Illinois' Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses offer the first images of active transport within the cell nucleus. (2006-04-17)

Building memories with actin
Memories aren't made of actin filaments. But their assembly is crucial for long-term potentiation (LTP), an increase in synapse sensitivity that researchers think helps to lay down memories. Rex et al. reveal that LTP's actin reorganization occurs in two stages that are controlled by different pathways, a discovery that helps explain why it is easy to encode new memories but hard to hold onto them. (2009-07-13)

New insight into machinery of immune cells' 'tentacles'
Researchers have identified new molecular components of the machinery that regulates formation of the tentacle-like filaments by which immune system T cells grasp other cells. This embrace by such filaments is critical for the T cell to establish communication with cells called 'antigen presenting cells.' Such communication enables the T cell to program itself to target invading microbes for destruction. (2006-01-09)

MIT IDs proteins key to brain function
MIT researchers have identified a family of proteins key to the formation of the communication networks critical for normal brain function. Their research could lead to new treatments for brain injury and disease. (2007-11-19)

Cancer: Central role of cell 'skeleton' discovered
All cells possess a cytoskeleton which allows them to move and maintain their shape. However, scientists recently showed that a part of this cytoskeleton called branched actin is also essential to cell proliferation. This mechanism could nevertheless represent a therapeutic target to fight certain types of cancer. Inhibiting the formation of branched actin, for example, prevents the growth of a type of melanoma cells, against which no other specific treatment exists today. (2019-04-10)

Protein transport: The quickest route to the tip
According to a theoretical model developed by physicists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, in cell protrusions, cargo-transporting motor proteins often get in each other's way. The upshot is that freely diffusing proteins reach the leading edge faster. (2017-03-27)

Mystery solved?
Biologists find a unique version of a filament-forming protein in human cells that insects lack. (2016-07-07)

Lane change in the cytoskeleton
Many amphibians and fish are able to change their color in order to better adapt to their environment. Munich-based scientists have now investigated the molecular mechanisms in the cytoskeleton necessary for this and revealed potential evolutionary paths. (2020-02-12)

Parasitology: Mother cells as organelle donors
Microbiologists at LMU and UoG have discovered a recycling process in the eukaryotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii that plays a vital role in the organism's unusual mode of reproduction. (2019-09-13)

HIV Discriminates Amongst Cells
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus(HIV) depends on moving parts of a cell's surface in order to enter the cell. (1998-05-11)

Plants, animals share molecular growth mechanisms
A newly discovered plant protein complex that apparently switches on plants' growth machinery, has opened a scientific toolbox to learn about both plant and animal development, according Purdue University scientists. (2005-02-23)

A new focus for the mechanism of nerve growth
Researchers at Yale shed new light on the mechanism of nerve cell growth by identifying novel functions for a molecular (2006-03-17)

Scientists flex their muscles to solve an old problem
220 years ago, Luigi Galvani discovered that the muscles of a frog's leg twitch when a voltage is applied. Scientists from Italy, the UK and France have brought this textbook classic into the era of nanoscience. They used a new synchrotron X-ray technique to observe for the first time at the molecular scale how muscle proteins change form and structure inside an intact and contracting muscle cell. To be published April 11, 2011, in PNAS. (2011-04-11)

How muscle develops: A dance of cellular skeletons
Revealing another part of the story of muscle development, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown how the cytoskeleton from one muscle cell builds finger-like projections that invade into another muscle cell's territory, eventually forcing the cells to combine. (2011-06-03)

Actin cytoskeleton remodeling protects tumor cells against immune attack
Cancer cells have evolved multiple escape strategies to circumvent the body's immune defenses such as the attack by Natural Killer (NK) cells which normally swiftly kill abnormal cells by releasing cytotoxic products. While studying breast cancer cell lines, Dr. Clément Thomas' research team at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that leaves tumor cells unharmed by NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. (2018-10-23)

Physicists delve into fundamental laws of biological materials
Physicists at the University of Chicago and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, are uncovering the fundamental physical laws that govern the behavior of cellular materials. (2013-12-18)

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