Immortality, One Cell at a Time | Stem Cell Research Tokyo University geneticist Shinya Yamanaka recently hit on a way to convert any normal adult cell into an immortal stem cell, capable of both living forever and morphing into any type of organ or tissue needing replacement in a sick or aging body. One of the biggest hurdles in stem cell research has been getting them. So far, scientists' only options are harvesting new stem cells from human embryos or cloning those already harvested, but both procedures are fraught with ethical and regulatory red tape. Yamanaka knew of another way. In mice, when adult cells are forced to fuse with stem cells, occasionally one of the adult cells reprograms itself, regressing back to an undifferentiated state. By studying the chemical signals released by cells as they undergo this transformation, Yamanaka has managed to concoct a cocktail of four chemicals that can provoke the same conversion. Yamanaka's technique may enable doctors to grow stem cells from adult cells of patients needing treatment.
The Science Behind Foldit | Foldit Foldit is a revolutionary new computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research. This page describes the science behind Foldit and how your playing can help. What is a protein? Proteins are the workhorses in every cell of every living thing. Your body is made up of trillions of cells, of all different kinds: muscle cells, brain cells, blood cells, and more. Inside those cells, proteins are allowing your body to do what it does: break down food to power your muscles, send signals through your brain that control the body, and transport nutrients through your blood. What are amino acids? What shape will a protein fold into? Why is shape important? What do proteins do? Proteins are present in all living things, even plants, bacteria, and viruses. Photosystem I is a collection of proteins in plants that captures sunlight for photosynthesis.Luciferase catalyzes the chemical reaction that makes fireflies glow.Hemagglutinin helps the influenza virus invade our cells.
New Muscle Programming Method Uses DNA To Turn Blood Into Beating Heart Cells A new DNA-based cell-transformation method could be a simpler, safer way to convert cells into beating heart cells, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. It involves no viruses and is a foolproof method to create cardiac cells that beat, they say. Cardiac muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, are what makes the heart beat. Scientists have been making cardiomyocytes from other cells for some time, usually by making induced pluripotent stem cells from some other cell, like skin cells or blood cells. The cells are reprogrammed into iPS cells by injecting virus particles that have been manipulated to carry genetic information. But the viruses can cause mutations scientists don't want, and in some cases, they cause cancer. Cardiomyocytes are tricky to make in the lab, developing into clumps of regular, non-beating cells if they are not developed properly. Hopkins researchers went ahead and figured that out. Watch the cells pulse in the video below.