In a new study, scientists used an innovative technique to study how cells move in a three-dimensional matrix, similar to the structure of certain tissues, such as the skin. They discovered an entirely new type of cell movement whereby the nucleus helps propel cells through the matrix like a piston in an engine, generating pressure that thrusts the cell's plasma membrane forward.
Bochemists have identified the developmental on-off switch for Streptomyces, a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world's naturally derived antibiotic medicines. Their hope now would be to see whether it is possible to manipulate this switch to make nature's antibiotic factory more efficient.
Researchers have identified a gene that could help engineer drought-resistant crops. The gene, called OSCA1, encodes a protein in the cell membrane of plants that senses changes in water availability and adjusts the plant's water conservation machinery accordingly.
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers is one step closer to solving that mystery.