Cell biology News

How do cells stay organized?

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Organization is key to an efficient workplace, and cells are no exception to this rule. New evidence from Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that, in addition to membranes, cells have another way to keep their contents and activities separate: with ribbons of spinning proteins. A summary of their findings appears today in the journal eLife.

Each cell is a busy warehouse of activity. To keep things orderly, protein workers are “assigned” to specific areas of the cell where other workers are collaborating on the same project. Most of the project areas, or organelles, in the cell are cordoned off by flexible membranes that let things in and out on an as-needed basis, but some organelles, like RNA granules, do not seem to have clear boundaries.

RNA granules float throughout the watery space inside the cell and are responsible for transporting, storing and controlling RNA—DNA’s chemical cousin—which holds blueprints for proteins. Until now, researchers thought that the granules didn’t have concrete edges to separate them from the space outside.

“Before, the thinking was that RNA granules were like oil in water,” says Geraldine Seydoux, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes investigator and professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Oil molecules create droplets because they are attracted to themselves, and so they are able to separate from surrounding water. Now we know that the separation of RNA granules from their watery surroundings is facilitated by a dynamic envelope that stabilizes them.” More.

So, it all just somehow happens, right?

Hat tip: Timothy Kershner

7 Replies to “How do cells stay organized?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    So, it all just somehow happens, right?

    Yes, that’s it. Very simple. 🙂

    BTW, Post #159 in the following link points to an article that points to the original article, in case someone is interested in seeing it:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-542560

  2. 2
  3. 3

    The “RNA granules” I’m seeing in the video (especially ones that fused) are doing more than “float throughout the watery space inside the cell” this is like WoW! These little buggers look very energetic. They immediately met 2 of the four requirements needed to qualify as intelligent (though they might never score well at all when given a human IQ test to test how intelligent they might be, if they are at all).

    From what I gathered so far the “P-granules” are only found in germ-line cells. Still need to sort out the rest that I’m seeing going on. All help welcomed.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    #2 lpadron

    Well, that’s assuming that we get that fantastic warehouse filled with all the required ingredients, components, networks, and pathways, within an acceptable timeframe. And that all the blind navigation through that ‘full’ landscape also occurs in a ‘decent’ amount of time.

    Yet the question that remains is: Why does the space of evolutionary options have this essential, robust structure? “We simply don’t know why genotype networks are interwoven the way they are,” admits Wagner.

    Jesse Bloom of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, a specialist on protein evolution, suggests that perhaps that question is back to front: “One could posit that evolution is only able to work effectively if this property exists, and so the things that ended up evolving have this property,” he says. But he admits that this would be hard to prove.

    However, it seems likely that the answer lies beyond biology.

    Yes, far, far beyond biology… 🙂

  5. 5

    Yes, the answer more specifically lies in future cognitive science, now being pioneered by the theory of you know what.

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    Mung says:

    I don’t understand why this is even a question anyone can intelligibly ask. Stuff bumps into other stuff and magically becomes organized. Haven’t you ever seen a snowflake?

  7. 7

    Mung can you summarize your theory pertaining to the Origin Of Life?

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