Researchers looking for new insights on how cells interact in three dimensions have a new tool for their studies -- nanoscale pyramid structures with open sides. These new structures allow researchers to capture individual cells for study, while still exploring how those cells interact with their surroundings and with other cells.
You can be forgiven for not remembering what happened when you were an embryo, because things went really, really quickly. DNA-wise, you're still largely the same person. The genes that are responsible for embryonic development in the first few days of life just get switched off after they've done their job. Researchers don't know where that switch is, or how it functions, but they have found another reason to keep looking for it. When the switch malfunctions, reactivating embryonic development genes later in life, tumors can be the result.
Cells do an amazing number of things, from forming your skin to digesting your food, to telling you if you are sunburnt or hungry. Most of everything cells do, they do using proteins -- proteins that say where they are, proteins that let cells reproduce, and even proteins that issue orders to other cells. Tracking proteins from a cell is tricky work, though only tiny amounts are produced, and they can get lost or muddled in the cultures researchers use to grow and study cells. A team at North Carolina State University may have developed a more accurate way of watching for proteins, though, by identifying the specific highways that proteins take on their way through a cell.