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Before dividing, cells toss out waste products


It’s as if they were designed to do that:

MIT researchers have discovered that before cells start to divide, they do a little cleanup, tossing out molecules that they appear not to need anymore.

Using a new method they developed for measuring the dry mass of cells, the researchers found that cells lose about 4 percent of their mass as they enter cell division. The researchers believe that this emptying of trash helps cells to give their offspring a “fresh start,” without the accumulated junk of the parent cell.

“Our hypothesis is that cells might be throwing out things that are building up, toxic components or just things that don’t function properly that you don’t want to have there. It could allow the newborn cells to be born with more functional contents,” says Teemu Miettinen, an MIT research scientist and the lead author of the new study.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Cells take out the trash before they divide” at ScienceDaily (May 10, 2022)

The paper is open access.

You may also wish to read: The secret world in the gaps between brain cells Neuroscientist: It’s now known that every cell in the brain is separated from its neighbor by a fluid-filled extracellular space (ECS), which forms sheets and tunnels, as shown on page 26 in a computer reconstruction of the ECS in a rat’s brain.

The measurement method is fascinating from a metrology viewpoint, but seems like it could create an artifact. They derive the mass from the buoyancy in an extremely complex and delicate way, that involves briefly letting the cells absorb heavy water instead of ordinary water. Heavy water is radioactive and toxic, so a longer absorption simply kills the cell. But because it's toxic, and also has different charge proportions, the ion gates might refuse to drink it, thus reducing the mass in a way that isn't included in the calculations. polistra

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