Discovery sheds light on ancient cell structure

phys.org | 3/8/2018 | Staff
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New research by University of Alberta cellular biologists is putting into question existing theories about what's responsible for organizing a central part of our cells, known as the Golgi apparatus.

"The Golgi sorts material as it is made and directs it to different locations. It is like a cellular post office. Our research—which goes back in time to examine how cells evolved over billions of years—challenges existing theories around how the cell's Golgi is structured," said Joel Dacks, a U of A cellular biologist and Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Cell Biology, who led the study.

Element - Cell - Membrane - Trafficking - System

"This is critical because when this important element of a cell's membrane trafficking system malfunctions in humans, diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's occur."

The study—conducted in partnership with scientists in the Czech Republic—aims to explain fundamentals of how healthy cells work, which should help in understanding disease when cells go wrong, he noted. "You can't figure out why your car doesn't run if you don't know how cars work in the first place."

Scientists - Gene - Golgi - Apparatus - Hallmark

Scientists have long postulated that a single gene is responsible for the Golgi apparatus's hallmark stacked membrane look, a collection of flattened membrane-enclosed disks known as cisternae, he explained.

Using new and existing genome sequence data and computational analysis, Lael Barlow, a Ph.D. student and the paper's first author, examined the evolution and prevalence of genes that were thought to be responsible for Golgi stacking across the broadest range of organisms, from amoeba to fish to humans.

"After testing...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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