Researchers unlock the secret of molecular division

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Researchers unlock the secret of molecular division

Scientists from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from the University of Tokyo recently conducted experiments on cell separation. These studies have led to the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the division of chemical compounds located in the cytoplasm of artificial cells. According to the researchers, this discovery will facilitate many applications in various fields.

Molecular division

The importance of cell size in cell division processes (liquid-liquid) was born from the behavioral study of certain molecules in different environments. Following the observations of this experiment, it turned out that the plasma membrane also has a crucial role in the process.

Miho Yanagisawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was one of the actors in the study.

On a small scale, division is done efficiently

Polymers were placed in two separate environments, one part in a test tube and the other inside a tiny cell. At the end of the experiment, the molecular separation took place only at the level of the cell.

A thorough observation of the latter has highlighted the role of its membrane in the liquid-liquid division process. Moreover, other data suggest that the plasma layer seems to select and classify the different elements it contains.

Parallel studies even confirm that this process takes place faster when the cell is small.

“From these experiments, we realized that the membrane detects slight differences between molecules and selects the preferred molecule, which drives the size-dependent behavior of cells. »

Miho Yanagisawa, Professor of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo

A long-standing problem finally solved

Artificial cells are marvels of engineering because of their ability to mimic certain biological functions. In addition, the division that takes place in the cytoplasm solves major problems in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical fields.

Thanks to this discovery, the manipulation of cells based on their size and their interfacial properties is now possible. The main beneficiaries of this process will be manufacturers who want avoid unexpected property changes molecular components contained in their products.

“Artificial cells containing solutions of multicomponent molecules have been used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The fact that such solutions do not separate in test tubes has been problematic for applications. »

Miho Yanagisawa, Professor of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo


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