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Cells' 'molecular muscles' help them sense and respond to their environments
Date:10/20/2013

ifferent linker proteins that responded to these forces by moving into the neck. Unexpectedly, each moved to a different part of the neck in response to the different forces.

One of the linker proteins, myosin II, acts like a spring that can pull actin rods together, the team reports. It responded to dilation and moved in to generously cover the tip of the neck (see video: http://youtu.be/XY_ra-poSlo), to help counteract the stretch in that area.

Alpha-actinin, which reinforces the cytoskeleton by forming parallel bundles that stick to actin rods, also responded to dilation but limited its range to the very tip of the neck (see video: http://youtu.be/lVOrhCx6S5s). Finally, filamin, which acts like a moveable hinge to connect actin rods in V-shaped angles, responded to the shear force and relocated just to the long part of the neck (see video: http://youtu.be/vl8NWpgpiqo).

Armed with this information, the team created a computer simulation of all of the forces and "molecular muscles" involved. When they created genetic mutants that were missing one of the players, the cells behaved exactly as their model predicted.


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Contact: Catherine Kolf
ckolf@jhmi.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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