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Mimicking the living to study cellular contractile mechanisms

Due to the design of a device mimicking a cell skeleton or cytoskeleton, we could for the first time decipher some of the organizational laws defining the architecture of cells. These investigators have shown that motor molecules, the myosins, were responsible for the selective contraction of certain intracellular structures formed by actin, an abundantly protein in the cells. The highlight mechanism allows to understand how the generation of forces inside the cells can be locally modulated in a very accurately way. These results open new perspectives, especially for the understanding of dysfunctions observed in some serious diseases like cancer.​

Published on 7 June 2012
Press release available in French

Superposition of images taken over time illustrating the deformation of a ring of actin filaments (in red) under the action of myosins (in green) in a biomimetic structure. From the analysis of the constriction speed of the ring, it is possible to determine the contractile property of this type of structure. Scale: 5 micrometers.
© Anne-Cécile Reymann 

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