PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

At the origin of cell division

The features of living matter emerge from inanimate matter

At the origin of cell division
2014-04-16
(Press-News.org) Droplets of filamentous material enclosed in a lipid membrane: these are the models of a "simplified" cell used by the SISSA physicists Luca Giomi and Antonio DeSimone, who simulated the spontaneous emergence of cell motility and division - that is, features of living material - in inanimate "objects". The research is one of the cover stories of the April 10th online issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

Giomi and DeSimone's artificial cells are in fact computer models that mimic some of the physical properties of the materials making up the inner content and outer membrane of cells.

The two researchers varied some of the parameters of the materials, recording what happened: "our 'cells' are a 'bare bones' representation of a biological cell, which normally contains microtubules, elongated proteins enclosed in an essentially lipid cell membrane", explains Giomi, first author of the study. "The filaments contained in the 'cytoplasm' of our cells slide over one another exerting a force that we can control".

The force exerted by the filaments is the variable that competes with another force, the surface tension that keeps the membrane surrounding the droplet from collapsing. The generates a flow in the fluid surrounding the droplet, which in turn is propelled by such self-generated flow. When the flow becomes very strong, the droplet deforms to the point of dividing. "When the force of the flow prevails over the force that keeps the membrane together we have cellular division", explains DeSimone, director of the SISSA mathLab, SISSA's mathematical modelling and scientific computing laboratory.

"We showed that by acting on a single physical parameter in a very simple model we can reproduce similar effects to those obtained with experimental observations" continues DeSimone. Empirical observations on microtubule specimens have shown that these also move outside the cell environment, in a manner proportional to the energy they have (derived from ATP, the cell "fuel"). "Similarly, our droplets, fuelled by their 'inner' energy alone – without forces acting from the outside – are able to move and even divide".

More in detail ... "Acquiring motility and the ability to divide is a fundamental step for life and, according to our simulations, the laws governing these phenomena could be very simple. Observations like ours can prepare the way for the creation of functioning artificial cells, and not only", comments Giomi. "Our work is also useful for understanding the transition from non-living to living matter on our planet. The development of the early forms of life, in other words."

Chemists and biologists who study the origin of life don't have access to cells that are sufficiently simple to be observed directly. "Even the simplest organism existing today has undergone billions of years of evolution", explains Giomi, "and will always contain fairly complex structures. Starting from schematic organisms as we do is like turning the clock back to when the first rudimentary living beings made their first appearance. We are currently starting studies to understand how cell metabolism emerged".

INFORMATION: VIDEO: Artificial cell simulation (courtesy of Physical Review Letters) - http://goo.gl/vLDcbB

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
At the origin of cell division

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

EU must take urgent action on invasive species

2014-04-16
The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast. The threats posed by these species cost an estimated €12 billion each year across Europe. Professor Jaimie Dick, from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's School of Biological Sciences, is calling on the EU to commit long-term investment in a European-wide strategy to manage the problem. Invasive species are considered to be among the major threats to native biodiversity ...

Expect changes in appetite, taste of food after weight loss surgery

2014-04-16
Changes in appetite, taste and smell are par for the course for people who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery during which one's stomach is made smaller and small intestines shortened. These sensory changes are not all negative, and could lead to more weight loss among patients, says Lisa Graham, lead author of a study by researchers from Leicester Royal Infirmary in the UK. Their findings, published in Springer's journal Obesity Surgery showed that after gastric bypass surgery, patients frequently report sensory changes. Graham and her colleagues say their ...

Fish exposed to antidepressants exhibit altered behavioral changes

2014-04-16
Amsterdam, April 16, 2014 - Fish exposed to the antidepressant Fluoxetine, an active ingredient in prescription drugs such as Prozac, exhibited a range of altered mating behaviours, repetitive behaviour and aggression towards female fish, according to new research published on in the latest special issue of Aquatic Toxicology: Antidepressants in the Aquatic Environment. The authors of the study set up a series of experiments exposing a freshwater fish (Fathead Minnow) to a range of Prozac concentrations. Following exposure for 4 weeks the authors observed and recorded ...

Study: The trials of the Cherokee were reflected in their skulls

2014-04-16
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics. "We wanted to look at these historically important events and further our understanding of the tangible human impacts they had on the Cherokee people," says Dr. Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at NC ...

Progress in understanding immune response in severe schistosomiasis

Progress in understanding immune response in severe schistosomiasis
2014-04-16
BOSTON (April 16, 2014) —Researchers at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) have uncovered a mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis, or snail fever, which is caused by schistosome worms and is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world. The study in mice, published online in The Journal of Immunology, may also offer targets for intervention and amelioration of the disease. Schistosomiasis makes some people very sick whereas others tolerate it relatively well, ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

2014-04-16
CAMBRIDGE, Mass-- When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future. Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically cooled ...

Bristol academics invited to speak at major 5G summit

2014-04-16
For more than 20 years academics from the University of Bristol have played a key role in the development of wireless communications. In particular, they have contributed to the development of today's Wi-Fi and cellular standards. Two Bristol engineers, who are leaders in this field, have been invited to a meeting of technology leaders to discuss the future of wireless communications. The first "Brooklyn 5G Summit" will be held next week [April 23-25] in New York, USA. Andrew Nix, Professor of Wireless Communication Systems and Mark Beach, Professor of Radio Systems ...

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines

2014-04-16
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens and are often impractical to carry out, a new study has found. The authors of the report, which appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggest that the agency review and revise its guidelines. Daniele Lantagne, who was at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the time of the study and is now at Tufts University, and colleagues ...

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries
2014-04-16
RICHLAND, Wash. – Electric vehicles could travel farther and more renewable energy could be stored with lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. A paper describing the material and its performance was published online April 4 in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters. "Lithium-sulfur batteries have the potential to ...

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

2014-04-16
Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs. The corresponding author, Professor Ronald Quinn AM said testing the new process on a marine sponge had delivered not only confirmation that the system is effective, but also a potential lead in the fight against Parkinson's disease. "We have found a new screening method which allows us to identify novel molecules drawn from nature to test for biological activity," Professor Quinn said. "As it ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] At the origin of cell division
The features of living matter emerge from inanimate matter