Signaling mechanism allows chaotic cells to self-organize

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria have discovered a key control mechanism that cells use to self-organize in early embryonic development. The findings, published in Science on Oct. 2, shed light on a process fundamental to multicellular life and open new avenues for improved tissue and organ engineering strategies.

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When methane-eating microbes eat ammonia instead

Some microorganisms, the so-called methanotrophs, make a living by oxidizing methane (CH4) to carbon dioxide (CO2). Ammonia (NH3) is structurally very similar to methane, thus methanotrophs also co-metabolize ammonia and produce nitrite. While this process was observed in cell cultures, the underlying biochemical mechanism was not understood. scientists now shed light on an exciting missing link in the process: the production of nitric oxide (NO).

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Building the batteries of cells

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells which continuously convert energy from food into the chemical energy currency called ATP. This essential process depends on large protein complexes within the inner membrane of mitochondria acting similar to batteries. A new study, now found that two lipid-binding proteins located inside of mitochondria control the overall stability of these batteries.

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