Under Pressure

Mechanical stress is a key driver of cell-cell fusion, study finds

Just as human relationships are a two-way street, fusion between cells requires two active partners: one to send protrusions into its neighbor, and one to hold its ground and help complete the process.  Researchers have now found that one way the receiving cell plays its role is by having a key structural protein come running in response to pressure on the cell membrane, rather than waiting for chemical signals to tell it that it’s needed. The study, which helps open the curtain on a process relevant to muscle formation and regeneration, fertilization, and immune response, appears in the March 9 issue of the journal Developmental Cell.

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News

Jan 27, 2016

Hoku defends his thesis entitled Regulation of Non-muscle Myosin II.  Congratulations, Dr. West-Foyle!

Apr 07, 2015

Cells are the ultimate smart material. They can sense the demands being placed on them during critical life processes and then respond by strengthening, remodeling or self-repairing, for instance. To do this, cells use “mechanosensory” systems similar to the cruise control that lets a car’s engine adjust its power output when going up or down hills.Researchers are uncovering new details on cells’ molecular cruise control systems. By learning more about the inner workings of these systems, scientists hope ultimately to devise ways to tinker with them for therapeutic purposes.  Please check...

Feb 28, 2015

Congratulations to Tianzhi Luo, new Assistant Professor at the University of Science and Technology of China.  Way to go, Tianzhi!

Feb 23, 2015

Vasudha Srivastava defended her doctoral thesis.  Congratulations, Dr. Srivastava!  In June, Vasudha will move to UCSF for her postdoctoral fellowship with Zev Gartner.

Feb 19, 2015

A new screen uncovers compounds that alter cell mechanics. Could these compounds someday treat cancer from an unexpected angle?  Find out by reading the story in Biotechniques.

Feb 19, 2015

Group dynamics, not star proteins, drive mechanics of crucial cell process

Like a surgeon separating conjoined twins, cells have to be careful to get everything just right when they divide in two. Otherwise, the resulting daughter cells could be hobbled, particularly if they end up with too many or two few chromosomes. Successful cell division hangs on the formation of a dip called a cleavage furrow, a process that has remained mysterious. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that no single molecular architect directs the cleavage furrow’s formation; rather, it is a robust...

Feb 13, 2015

Mechanical stress is a key driver of cell-cell fusion, study finds

Just as human relationships are a two-way street, fusion between cells requires two active partners: one to send protrusions into its neighbor, and one to hold its ground and help complete the process.  Researchers have now found that one way the receiving cell plays its role is by having a key structural protein come running in response to pressure on the cell membrane, rather than waiting for chemical signals to tell it that it’s needed. The study, which helps open the curtain on a process relevant to muscle...

Feb 05, 2015

Krithika Mohan defended her doctoral thesis.  Congratulations, Dr. Mohan!  Krithika will head to NC State for her postdoctoral fellowship with Jason Haugh.

Jan 26, 2015

We welcome our newest (and youngest) lab member, Brayden Englert, who was born Jan. 26.  Congratulations Corrine, Judd, and Brayden!

Jan 21, 2015

Potential drug for pancreatic cancer now being tested in animals

Existing cancer therapies are geared toward massacring tumor cells, but Johns Hopkins researchers propose a different strategy: subtly hardening cancer cells to prevent them from invading new areas of the body. They devised a way of screening compounds for the desired effect and have identified a compound that shows promise in fighting pancreatic cancer. Their study appears this week in the early edition of the Proceedings...