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Stepping our understanding of cellular function up a gear

By 22 de March de 2013November 18th, 2020No Comments
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A cell marked with the molecules,alpha-actinin (green), talin (red) and integrin (blue). Source: IBEC.

Stepping our understanding of cellular function up a gear

A team led by Pere Roca-Cusachs from the IBEC –base in the Parc Científic de Barcelona– has discovered the crucial role of two molecules in enabling cells to communicate with their environment.

An IBEC researcher and his collaborators have discovered how cells use two of these molecules, talin and alpha-actinin, to connect with and transmit forces to their surroundings. By using nanotechnologies able to both detect and apply forces to cells, the researchers have unveiled a crucial mechanism by which cells ‘switch gears’ by using one molecule or the other, regulating force transmission and their connection with their environment.

“As cellular forces are essential for crucial processes such as the development of embryos or wound healing, as well as in undesirable ones such as cancer progression, this discovery represents an important step in our understanding of cell function, with implications in both health and disease,” explains Dr. Roca-Cusachs