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'Artificial Golgi' May Provide New Insight Into Key Cell Structure

Date:
August 3, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting assembly of the first functioning prototype of an artificial Golgi organelle. That key structure inside cells helps process and package hormones, enzymes, and other substances that allow the body to function normally.

Researchers have developed an artificial version of the Golgi organelle, shown in this illustration of a cell cross-section. The device could lead to a better method for producing heparin, they say.
Credit: The American Chemical Society

Scientists in New York and North Carolina are reporting assembly of the first functioning prototype of an artificial Golgi organelle. That key structure inside cells helps process and package hormones, enzymes, and other substances that allow the body to function normally. The lab-on-a-chip device could lead to a faster and safer method for producing heparin, the widely used anticoagulant or blood thinner, the researchers note.

The Golgi organelle is named for Camillo Golgi, the Italian scientist and Nobel Prize winner who discovered the structure in 1898. It is composed of a network of sacs, stacked like a deck of playing cards, located inside cells. In the new study, Robert Linhardt and colleagues point out that Golgi bodies are one of the most poorly understood organelles (specialized structures inside cells) in the human body. Scientists already know, however, that the organelles play a key role in producing heparin, a substance that helps prevent clotting.

The researchers describe development of a prototype lab-on-a-chip device that closely mimics the natural Golgi apparatus. They showed in lab tests that the device could quickly and efficiently produce heparin. It did so in an assembly-line fashion using a combination of enzymes, sugars and other raw materials and demonstrated that the substance has a strong clot-fighting potential. In the future, an "artificial Golgi" could lead to a faster and safer method for producing heparin, the scientists suggest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin et al. Toward an Artificial Golgi: Redesigning the Biological Activities of Heparan Sulfate on a Digital Microfluidic Chip. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 090710133727034 DOI: 10.1021/ja903038d

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Artificial Golgi' May Provide New Insight Into Key Cell Structure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729103732.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, August 3). 'Artificial Golgi' May Provide New Insight Into Key Cell Structure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729103732.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Artificial Golgi' May Provide New Insight Into Key Cell Structure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729103732.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

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