Saturday, 4 January 2014

Some Body Cells Form Intranets - Touching Each Other at Great Distance

Ordinary cells, not just nerve cells, link up with each other over great distances and trade information. Tiny filaments reach out fifty to a hundred cells distant and exchange protein signals.  The filaments called cytonemes are so delicate they went unseen for decades.  People, unaware of these communication bridges, assumed chemicals leached out of cells and drifted around until they bumped into receptors.  The truth is some cells target each other at a distance (like friends on Facebook).

Research reported by Thomas B. Kornberg, PhD, a professor of biochemistry with the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute, January 2, 2014 in Science. Story summarized at Science Daily News.
Live-cell fluorescence image of acytoneme emanating from a small clone of cells that express a membrane-tethered form of Green Fluorescence Protein. This cytoneme extends toward cells in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc that express Decapentaplegic, a morphogen signaling protein. (Wikipedia)

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