Cell Biology

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Cell Biology

Visualizing the Cell Cycle

You have got to see this video. Sakaue-Sawano et al. may have created the coolest molecular biology video I have ever seen. They developed a system of reporters to watch the cells transition between the different stages of the cell cycle. This is cool, but it is going to take a bit of explaining to…

Watch Oligodendrocytes Move in Vivo!

If you remember back from when I was at the Society for Neuroscience, I saw a talk by Bruce Appel where he showed videos of oligodendrocytes migrating and myelinating in the zebrafish. Oligodendrocytes are the myelin forming cell in the central nervous system of vertebrates — the cells that coat axons in a sheet of…

Scientists have discovered a bacteria the survives with an incredibly small number of genes: The tiniest genomes ever found belong to two types of bacteria that live inside insects, researchers have announced. One of these types of bacteria, Carsonella ruddii, is so small that it could perhaps be considered an organelle within the cells of…

Andrew Fire and Craig Mello have won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of RNA interference: Americans Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine Monday for discovering a powerful way to turn off the effect of specific genes, opening a new avenue for disease treatment.…

Cool molecular animation

Check out this awesome molecular biology animation by XVIVO. My favorite is the depiction of actin and microtubule assembly and the movement of a kinesin molecule tethered to a vesicle. Apparently, Harvard has contracted out with this company to provide this animations to students. If that is true, that would be lovely. Anything that helps…

Neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s, were for many years regarded as exclusively diseases of molecular crud. You would look at brains of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients and notice that there were all these aggregates of protein crud forming in specific locations. This led scientists to conclude that the crud must be causing the neurons…

I remember for a couple years, it was “lipid rafts this” and “lipid rafts that.” The idea of the lipid rafts — for the uninitiated — was that there were microdomains in the plasma membranes of cells defined by their more hydrophobic composition. You can definitely separate these fractions from the fractions of plasma membrane…