Nadia Elkhatib and colleagues have provided evidence to explain why cells in 3D show fewer integrin rich focal adhesions compared to cells on flat surfaces.
Alexander Dunn and his colleagues look at how fibroblasts – cells that make up ‘connective tissue’ – generate force to deform their surrounding (3D) environment.
Chagnon-Lasard, with a team from the University of Ottawa, have developed a new microdevice that applies force gradients to cells. With the device, they have shown that the cellular cytoskeleton can not only sense differences in strain forces being applied over an area, it will actually realign itself in the direction of least stress.
Scientists at the University of Kyoto have linked Vinculin, a focal adhesion protein, with the famous YAP/TAZ pathway: its a mechanosensor that dictates cell fate based on the rigidity of the substrate
Noriyuki Kioka’s team have provided a new window of understanding on how mechanical forces influence cell differentiation.
Continue reading “Cells probe their surroundings to transduce a mechanical signal into a genetic one”
Combining metabolomics with genetic analysis is, Choo and Kanno et al argue, a richer way to predict a phenotypic outcome when it comes to the complex universe of inputs and outputs in our densely populated gut.
By mass, 99% of the DNA in and on a person is bacterial – only 1 % is human.
The gut microbiome, a word to describe the bacteria living in your intestines, is defined by its symbiosis, interconnectivity and redundancy. If you take away one species, another might fill the gap in function. Wipe out a different species and this might have devastating effects down the chain.
Researchers from the University of Oxford find that the specific wavelength of light hitting neurons at the back of the eye causes mice to fall asleep faster, slower or for longer. They also identify the pigment responsible: Melanopsin.
Respiratory viruses hijack your social network to facilitate their spread1. Liquid droplets saturated with virus, released when you sneeze, have about a 6 metre radius (just an estimate). So the people you infect are most likely to be your close friends and relatives.
Would like to take this opportunity to promote the journal article side of the new Randall and CHAPS PhD blog. As you can see, its looking pretty snazzy these days, traffics pretty high from those who already participate, and we are ready for as many new submissions as we can manage!
Here’s why its good:
- If you feel like an imposter when you write, actively avoid it, or just take a long time over it…the cure is to write more! You might go from hating writing to actually finding joy in it. This will make you the next Hemingway/Stein, guaranteed.
Here’s a link to the paper under discussion1: http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.200812-1911OC#.WBcwWvmLR7O
Pollution in our cities is a big problem. Cycling to work every morning through central London exposes me to a broad range of tiny carcinogenic particles. Google maps now labels high pollution areas for the conscientious cyclist to avoid, but sometimes this is impossible, and it is arguable how much distance you actually need to be away from a problem area for this to be effective.
Most face masks designed to protect the wearer from airborne particles have filters that are too large to be effective – most of the harmful stuff is pretty tiny. There is a notable exception in ‘totobobo’ masks, which provide OK protection. Warning – these do not look trendy, and they make it pretty hard to, um, breathe.