Endocytosis: How Cells Swallow Nutrients

Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 15:01 in Biology & Nature

Scientists have combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3-dimensional movie of how cells ‘swallow’ nutrients and other molecules by engulfing them - the first to follow changes in the shape of the cell’s membrane and track proteins thought to influence those changes.This ‘swallowing’, called endocytosis, is involved in a variety of crucial tasks. It is used by brain cells relaying information to each other and is also hijacked by many viruses, which use it to invade their host’s cells. When a cell is about to swallow some molecules, a dent appears in the cell’s membrane, and gradually expands inwards, pinching off to form a little pouch, or vesicle, that transports molecules into the cell. read more

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