Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell’s transport pods look like a molecular version of robots from Transformers

Date:
May 25, 2012
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Images of the cell's transport pods have revealed a molecular version of the robots from Transformers. Previously, scientists had been able to create and determine the structure of 'cages' formed by parts of the protein coats that encase other types of vesicles, but this study was the first to obtain high-resolution images of complete vesicles, budded from a membrane.

Images of the cell’s transport pods have revealed a molecular version of the robots from Transformers.
Credit: Copyright EMBL/M.Faini

Images of the cell's transport pods, produced at EMBL Heidelberg, revealed a molecular version of the robots from Transformers, published online May 25 in Science.

These spheres may look almost identical, but subtle differences between them revealed a molecular version of the robots from Transformers. Each sphere is a vesicle, a pod that cells use to transport materials between different compartments. The images, produced by Marco Faini from John Briggs' lab at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), in Heidelberg, Germany, are the first high-resolution view of the three-dimensional structure of such a pod. They show a particular type of vesicle that is encased by a protein called COPI, and whose structure had never been seen before.

Several copies of the COPI protein attach to each other to form a coat around the vesicle's membrane. Briggs and colleagues were surprised to find that the COPI building blocks are capable of a 'transformer' act: they can change shape to connect to more or fewer copies of themselves. So by changing the shape of individual COPI blocks, the cell could create vesicles of different shapes and sizes, for instance to transport different kinds of cargo.

Previously, scientists had been able to create and determine the structure of 'cages' formed by parts of the protein coats that encase other types of vesicles, but this study was the first to obtain high-resolution images of complete vesicles, budded from a membrane.

The work was carried out in collaboration with the lab of Felix Wieland at Heidelberg University in Germany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Faini, S. Prinz, R. Beck, M. Schorb, J. D. Riches, K. Bacia, B. Brugger, F. T. Wieland, J. A. G. Briggs. The Structures of COPI-Coated Vesicles Reveal Alternate Coatomer Conformations and Interactions. Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1126/science.1221443

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Cell’s transport pods look like a molecular version of robots from Transformers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120525103614.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2012, May 25). Cell’s transport pods look like a molecular version of robots from Transformers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120525103614.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Cell’s transport pods look like a molecular version of robots from Transformers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120525103614.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins