From the Journals: Cilia Research Opens New Avenues for Treating Hearing Loss Experiments at Johns Hopkins University have unearthed clues about which protein signaling molecules are allowed into hollow, hair-like "antennae"—cilia—that alert cells to critical changes in their environments.Researchers found that the size limit for entry is much greater than previouslythought, allowing most of a cell's proteins into cilia, according ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   August 01, 2013
From the Journals: Cilia Research Opens New Avenues for Treating Hearing Loss
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Hearing Disorders / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   August 01, 2013
From the Journals: Cilia Research Opens New Avenues for Treating Hearing Loss
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ5.18082013.37
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ5.18082013.37
Experiments at Johns Hopkins University have unearthed clues about which protein signaling molecules are allowed into hollow, hair-like "antennae"—cilia—that alert cells to critical changes in their environments.
Researchers found that the size limit for entry is much greater than previously
thought, allowing most of a cell's proteins into cilia, according to a study published online in the journal Nature Chemical Biology on May 12, 2013.
Primary cilia protrude from most cells in a wide variety of organisms, and defects in cilia have been implicated in everything from polycystic kidney disease to vision and hearing loss. The researchers believe that the specific collection of proteins in each cilium, customized to the needs of each cell type, is determined by whether and how cilia keep proteins inside once they enter—not which ones they allow in initially. Previous research suggested a fixed pore at the base of a cilium allows only relatively small molecules inside. By developing more sensitive experimental methods, scientists demonstrated that molecules almost 10 times larger than those known before could enter.
The researchers first engineered an anchor-like molecule that selectively embedded itself in the membranes of cilia. On the inside end of the anchor was half of a "molecular snapper." Inside the watery interior of the cell, the team placed fluorescent molecules of known size, fitted with the other half of the molecular snapper. If these fluorescent molecules entered cilia, they would carry their fluorescence with them and be trapped inside when the snappers clicked together, allowing the researchers to easily take images of them.
By repeating this experiment many times with molecules of increasing size, the team was able to show that every molecular size they tested was able to enter the cilia. The only difference between the molecules of different sizes was their rate of entry: Smaller molecules entered more quickly than larger ones.
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August 2013
Volume 18, Issue 8