Cytoskeleton Actin discovered to have fractal structure

Until recently, scientists couldn’t understand why a broad range of membrane proteins display anomalous diffusion on the cell surface within human cells. Due to several technical, and experimental restrictions, scientists could never visualize this odd behavior off cells. In this new study, scientists were finally able to visualize this process by imaging cortical actin, and by tracking individual membrane proteins in live mammalian cells. This study found that cortical actin is organized into a self-similar fractal structure. This is quite a huge deal because actin participates in many important cellular processes, including muscle contraction, cell motility, cell division and cytokinesis, vesicle and organelle movement, cell signaling, and the establishment and maintenance of cell junctions and cell shape. Furthermore, this study showed that the the plasma membrane is compartmentalized in a hierarchical fashion by a dynamic cortical actin fractal. According to the researchers. this finding has many applications for better understanding of cell communication. Nevertheless, we are wondering what the applications are for the better understanding of life in general.

Original Paper


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