Posted by: Dan | July 22, 2007

Cells Weekly #39


[From Carmen Laethem, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA – Primary porcine trabecular meshwork cells (20x)]

Carmen notes that “the image is primary trabecular cells stained with Hoechst (DNA), rhodamine phalloidin (actin fibers), and anti-paxillin (focal adhesions).” She adds that “We were pretty stunned at the clarity of the actin fibers!!” Nice image Carmen!


In the interests of promoting science posts relating (however broadly) to my interests of cell and molecular biology, here’s my weekly installment of “Cells Weekly,” a showcase of topical blog posts by others from the past week. Enjoy!

Cell Morphology Question – Alex asks a question about an odd observation under the microscope, in cells treated with a specific (but unnamed) siRNA. At The Daily Transcript.

Herpesvirus microRNAs (Predictions, successful and unsuccessful) – Ian talks about the functional characterizations of some microRNAs in Herpesviruses, and tries sorting out a couple inconsistencies. At Mystery Rays from Outer Space.

Darwin and the Cell: Not Just Protoplasm – Afarensis takes a look at Darwin the microscopist and experimentalist. At Afarensis.

Nerve Functions without Action Potentials – Mo discusses some recent discoveries that may be forcing researchers to re-evaluate their thinking about nerve function yet again. At Neurophilosphy.

Evolution by mutations of large effect…or not? – P-ter discusses the role of mutations in light of the modern evolutionary synthesis (as step-wise increments or significant changes at important gene loci). At Gene Expression (Classic).

An Encyclopedia of Interactions – Ekat introduces the Pathway Interaction Database, which provides a simple web interface for finding key information about known biomolecular interactions and signalling pathways. At the Cell Migration Gateway.


Carnivals: Gene Genie #11, Oekologie #7, Encephalon #27, Tangled Bank #84, Skeptics’ Circle #65

And some ScienceDaily posts below the fold:

Cells Take Risks With Their Identities

Contrary to textbook models, many genes that should be “off” in embryonic stem cells and specialized adult cells remain primed to produce master regulatory proteins, leaving those cells vulnerable to identity changes. The genes encoding the master regulators of cell fate begin making RNA templates for these proteins, though a control mechanism stops them from finishing the job.

Bak Protein Sets Stressed Cells On Suicide Path, Researchers Show

When a cell is seriously stressed, say by a heart attack, stroke or cancer, a protein called Bak just may set it up for suicide, researchers have found.

Evidence Found For Novel Brain Cell Communication

New research provides strong evidence for a novel type of communication between nerve cells in the brain. The finding may have relevance for the prevention and treatment of epilepsy, and possibly in the exploration of other aspects of brain functions, from creative thought processes to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The discovery suggests the first new model of brain function since the 1940s.


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