Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Inspire Rings

Steps closer to simulating cell division

04 June 2021

Inspire Rings

Synthetic biologists aim to recreate the tiny building blocks, machines and mechanical quirks found inside our cells. Life inspires their biomimetic machines, but one design remains elusive – how to build a dividing cell. Living cells split using actomyosin rings made from stretchy bundles of actin (highlighted in green) and myosin that contract to ‘pinch’ one cell into two during cytokinesis. Here researchers investigate rings forming around giant unilamellar vesicles – pockets of chemicals that mimic cells – using mathematical models to explore their properties. By generating subtly different rings, and changing how they attach to the vesicle’s membrane, they take a step closer to simulating cell division, understanding more about embryonic development and diseases like cancer.

Written by John Ankers

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