Scientists have deciphered how the proteasome converts energy into mechanical motion that untangles and unfolds proteins for destruction. The findings could help us understand how proteasomes keep diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's at bay.
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The English idiom "highbrow," derived from a physical description of a skull barely able to contain the brain inside of it, comes from a long-held belief in the existence of a link between brain size and intelligence. The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.
An international research team has discovered a mechanism that regulates the regeneration of the insulating layer of neurites. This insulation coating, also referred to as myelin sheath, is crucial for rapid signal transmission among cells. Damages to the myelin sheath, such as are caused by multiple sclerosis, can considerably inhibit the function of the nervous system.
Scientists have modeled the first step in human development in a laboratory with the goal of better understanding how organs form. In the new study, the researchers edited groups of human pluripotent stem cells to silence genes important for cellular mechanics. The alterations prompted the cells to move around and self-organized until they were divided into two groups: Those that had been manipulated and those that had not.
Scientists have developed a mathematical model showing that two types of cellular asymmetry, or 'polarity', govern the shaping of cells into sheets and tubes, according to an article in eLife. The research is a major advance in understanding the processes that allow a single cell to develop into an entire organism and could help understand what happens when cells gain or lose their polarity in diseases such as cancer.
Columbia neuroscientists have discovered why mitochondria, tiny power generators that keep our cells healthy, are often strangely shaped inside the brain. Mitochondria, which exist in the thousands in each of our body's 37 trillion cells, usually look like long interconnected tubes.
But inside brain cells called neurons, they adopted two different shapes depending on their location within the cell: that same elongated, tubular shape and a substantially smaller, almost spherical shape, that more closely resembles golf balls. In this study, researchers have identified the mechanism responsible for these differences in mitochondrial shape – uncovering key insight into the relationship between mitochondrial shape and their function.
Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered how our bones grow at an atomic level, showing how an unstructured mass orders itself into a perfectly arranged bone structure. The discovery offers new insights, which could yield improved new implants, as well as increasing our knowledge of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
In optogenetics, researchers use light to control protein activity. This technique allows them to alter the shape of embryonic tissue and to inhibit the development of abnormalities. Now, scientists in EMBL's De Renzis group have enhanced the technique to stop organ-shaping processes in fruit fly embryos. Their results, published in the EMBO Journal, allow control over a crucial step in embryonic development.
The vertebrates, the animal group to which humans belong, are extremely diverse and have colonized virtually all of the planet's ecosystems. For many years there was some debate as to which changes in our ancestors' genome could have contributed to the successful evolution of the vertebrates.
Now, an international team of scientists co-led by Spanish researchers from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, has just described the processes that ultimately helped to yield the diversity of gene functions and regulation during the transition from invertebrates to vertebrates.
According to the guidelines of human anatomy, the ligaments in the ankle are grouped by two ligament complexes: The first is the lateral collateral ligament in the side of the joint formed by three independent ligaments. The second is the medial or deltoid collateral ligament. In this new scientific study, the UB research team defined a new anatomical structure in the ankle, the lateral fibulotalocalcaneal ligament complex (LFTCL).
These days, mammals can use their forelimbs to swim, jump, fly, climb, dig, and just about everything in between, but the question of how all that diversity evolved has remained a vexing one for scientists. To help answer it, Harvard researchers are turning to one of the most unusual mammals around – echidnas. These sprawling, egg-laying mammals have many anatomical features in common with earlier mammal ancestors, and so can help bridge the gap between extinct and other modern-day mammals.