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Current Affairs

Motions that keeps cells in shape

Date: 29 November 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A team of scientists has found the health of cells is maintained in part by two types of movement of their nucleoli. This dual motion adds to our understanding of what contributes to healthy cellular function.

 

Background

Recent discoveries have shown that some cellular compartments don't have membranes. Researchers have since sought to understand the forces that maintain the integrity of these building blocks of life that are absent in these membranes.

 

Details

  • understanding the processes responsible for the maintenance of nucleolar shape and motion might help in the creation of new diagnostics and therapies for certain human afflictions.

  • Compartments in cells act as liquid droplets made of a material that does not mix with the fluid around them- similar to oil and water.

  • This process, known as liquid-liquid phase separation, has now been established as one of the key cellular organizing principles.

  • To better understand this, the scientists examined the motion and fusion of human nucleoli in live human cells, while monitoring their shape, size, and smoothness of their surface. 

  • The study showed two types of nucleolar pair movements: an unexpected correlated motion prior to their fusion and separate independent motion.

  • They found that the smoothness of the nucleolar interface is susceptible to both changes in gene expression and the packing state of the genome, which surrounds the nucleoli.

  • Since nucleoli are surrounded by fluid that contains our genome, their movement stirs genes around them.

  • Consequently, because the genome in the surrounding fluid and nucleoli exist in a sensitive balance, a change in one can influence the other. Disrupting this state can potentially lead to disease.