Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How the cell swallows

Date:
August 3, 2012
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Scientists have combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3-dimensional movie of how cells ‘swallow’ nutrients and other molecules by engulfing them. The study is the first to follow changes in the shape of the cell’s membrane and track proteins thought to influence those changes. It also provides ample data to investigate this essential process further.

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3-dimensional movie of how cells 'swallow' nutrients and other molecules by engulfing them. The study, published August 3 in Cell, is the first to follow changes in the shape of the cell's membrane and track proteins thought to influence those changes. It also provides ample data to investigate this essential process further.

This 'swallowing', called endocytosis, is involved in a variety of crucial tasks. It is used by brain cells relaying information to each other, for instance, and is also hijacked by many viruses, which use it to invade their host's cells. When a cell is about to swallow some molecules, a dent appears in the cell's membrane, and gradually expands inwards, pinching off to form a little pouch, or vesicle, that transports molecules into the cell.

To investigate how the cell's machinery pulls in the membrane and forms the vesicle, researchers led by Marko Kaksonen and John Briggs employed a method they developed two years ago to faithfully follow the exact same molecules first under a light microscope and then with the higher resolution of an electron microscope. This enabled them to combine two sets of data that so far could only be obtained in isolation: the timing and sequence with which different components of the cell's machinery arrive at the vesicle-to-be, and the 3D changes to membrane shape that ultimately form that vesicle. They discovered, for instance, that the first proteins to arrive on the inside of the cell's membrane are not able to start bending it inwards until a network of the cell's scaffolding protein, actin, forms and starts pulling on the membrane.

The data used to make the video is freely available to the scientific community and will, Kaksonen and Briggs believe, provide valuable information to others trying to develop physical models of how this process works. The EMBL scientists themselves are probing the roles of individual proteins in this process, by perturbing them, and would like to extend the current work in yeast to human cells.

The video accompanying this release is also available on the EMBL YouTube Channel: http://youtu.be/50eIv8FN-lk.


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. Wanda Kukulski, Martin Schorb, Marko Kaksonen, JohnA.G. Briggs. Plasma Membrane Reshaping during Endocytosis Is Revealed by Time-Resolved Electron Tomography. Cell, 2012; 150 (3): 508 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.05.046

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "How the cell swallows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120803082909.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2012, August 3). How the cell swallows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120803082909.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "How the cell swallows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120803082909.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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