Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Self-forming biological scaffolding: A model system that can interpret the role of cross-linking proteins

Date:
September 19, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
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 new article 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.

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-organisation. It hinges on the findings that a homogeneous protein network, once subjected to stresses generated by molecular motors, compacts into highly condensed fibres.

The contractile machinery inside cells is arguably the most prominent example of cells' ability to self-organise cellular proteins into highly ordered functional structures involved in cell division or cell migration, for example.

The authors attempt to elucidate how such highly self-organised structures emerge from a less ordered and homogeneous collection of constituent proteins. Namely, such proteins are actin filaments -- one of the main scaffold proteins in cells made of biopolymers -- and associated molecular motors. The latter exerts forces by pressing along the filament, an energy consuming process.

Schaller and colleagues reconstituted a minimal model system of the cellular skeleton consisting of actin filaments held together by cross-linking proteins and molecular motors. They found that this minimal system is sufficient to reproduce similar self-organisation processes observed in nature.

In particular, they showed that a homogeneous network of actin filaments held together by the cross-linking protein α-actinin can rapidly be reorganised by molecular motor proteins. It contracts to form a highly heterogeneous set of compact fibres consisting of millions of individual filaments, resembling scaffold structures inside the cellular skeleton.

The authors also realised that the efficiency of this reorganisation process, and therefore the length scale of the fibres created, directly depend on motor activity. Thus, the fibres can range between 5μm and up to 100μm in length for low and high motor activity, respectively.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Schaller, B. Hammerich, A. R. Bausch. Active compaction of crosslinked driven filament networks. The European Physical Journal E, 2012; 35 (8) DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2012-12081-2

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Self-forming biological scaffolding: A model system that can interpret the role of cross-linking proteins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919103311.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, September 19). Self-forming biological scaffolding: A model system that can interpret the role of cross-linking proteins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919103311.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Self-forming biological scaffolding: A model system that can interpret the role of cross-linking proteins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919103311.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
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