The study of cells: their physiological properties, structure, environmental interaction, division, life cycle, and death, as well as the organelles they contain. Also known as cytology.

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Why aren't organelles considered alive?

I'm taking a 3-week Bio I summer course, and my textbook says the cell is the smallest/basic unit of life. I asked my professor why organelles aren't a living unit, and her reply was that they aren't ...
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Is “exhaustion” of the Hodgkin-Huxley membrane at constant stimulation a real phenomenon?

I was playing around with a simulation of the Hodgkin-Huxley model using their original parameters for the squid giant axon. By applying a constant stimulation current to the model in resting state, ...
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434 views

To understand why satellite cells are genetically inactive in Barr body

DAPI is used as a stain for DNA heterochromatic and euchromatic regions. The Barr body is heterochromatic. In the slide of a normal human female cheek's somatic cells, there is apparently no other ...
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Where do lost membrane proteins go after exocytosis?

Exocytotic vesicles take away membrane proteins and glycocalyx on the cell's plasma membrane surface. When those vesicles are released into the interstitial fluid and wherever else, where do they go? ...
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63 views

Intracellular lipid transport

I know that lipids are carried around the body in the blood either as micelles or by lipid-binding proteins which allow them to be solved. Lipids can't always be integrated in a membrane though, the ...
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91 views

Cell Respiration and Oxidative Phosphorylation

Why and how does the proton travelling through the stalked particle in the inner mitochondrial membrane, cause a conformational change in the ATPase?
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454 views

How fast do different organs turn over cells?

It is said that the human body turns over all cells or molecules in 7 year cycles. This is not quite correct, because there are different organs changing at different speeds. My interest is what is ...
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Multi-nucleated cells: advantages and examples?

This question arises because I saw that monocytes and leukocytes are commonly called 'mononuclear cells' in the scientific literature. The implication of course being that other immune sub-types are ...
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217 views

When collecting cell lysates for a Western blot, how do I induce di-sulfide bonds?

I would like to conduct a simple dimerization experiment for some protein I'm collecting from a cultured cells. My thought is, that if I'm running a non-reducing, denaturing PAGE gel, then removing ...
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What is the difference between “dikaryotic” and “heterokaryotic” states in the sexual lifecyles of fungi?

Many fungi undergo a reproductive phase in which more than one genetically distinct nuclei (from 2 separate mating types) is present within the same cytoplasm. In the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, ...
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232 views

What causes Paresthesia (Pins and Needles) at a cellular level?

I've looked it up in plenty of places like the Wikipedia page and such, and it is clear that the most common cause of Paresthesia is either a fair amount of pressure on a specific patch of skin ...
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91 views

How do nuclear receptors locate each other to form a DNA loop?

Nuclear receptors can influence transcription far up- or downstream from their own binding sites by looping DNA (Rubina et al.; J Mol Bio 2004). I am not sure how exactly the receptors first attach ...
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What is the mechanism by which lamins regulate gene expression?

The heterochromatin is generally localized at the nuclear periphery (also near nuclear lamina), whereas active genes are preferentially found in the nuclear interior. Children with ...
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522 views

What are the differences between cancer and tumour?

What are the differences between cancer and tumour? I mean is it in the DNA or shape or something else... And how can a benign tumour turn into a malignant tumour? The body has a lot of tumours all ...
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Do animal cells have vacuoles?

I overheard a rather heated argument about whether or not animal cells have vacuoles. One person said that they do, but they're much smaller than vacuoles in plant cells. The other person said they ...
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557 views

Alternatives to trypsin for cell detachment?

I have ran out of trypsin and need to passage my cells (immortalized chondrocytes, C28/I2) today or tomorrow. I have been out of town and forgot to order more trypsin. I was wondering if there are ...
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616 views

How do cells “know” what “type” to differentiate into?

I have been reading about Townes and Holtfreter's work in 1955, in which cells are dissociated from a blastocyst in an alkaline solution then mixed together and spontaneously reaggregates based on ...
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778 views

What is the main general difference between Mitosis and Meiosis?

I found such a clause: The general principle is that mitosis creates somatic cells and meiosis creates germ cells. However, I cannot agree. Each gametogonium needs to go through mitosis before ...
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Methods of nuclear transfection - nuclear transport

I am reading through the ENCODE papers, which is taking me well out of my comfort zone in terms of modern laboratory techniques. At the risk of asking a question which may well be thoroughly answered ...
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176 views

How Do Large Ocean Viruses Form Their Own Organelles?

Several large viruses (Arslan 2011) form their own organelles within the amoebae they invade. How do these organelles form? Reference: Arslan, D., Legendre, M., Seltzer, V., Abergel, C., Claverie, ...
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Where do the electrons and protons formed from biological reactions go?

In a reaction like disulphide bond formation protons and electrons are released. These particles are presumably damaging in high levels. What systems are in place to prevent a build up of electrons ...
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How do archaea relate to eukaryotes and bacteria?

I've read that they all share some genes, internal structure, and behaviour with each other, but with different degrees of overlap depending of what the function is. E.g., archaea have some eukaryotic ...
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506 views

Are the cytosol and extracellular fluids electrically neutral?

I've found several sources that state that overall, the cytosol of a cell is electrically neutral. The extracellular fluid is also purportedly electrically neutral. How can that be when we have ...
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75 views

Why do mitochondria fuse together?

Contrary to all of the textbook images of mitochondria that I have seen over the years, I had just learned that the mitochondria within a cell form a dynamic branching network along microtubule ...
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What is a positive epitope fragment

What is a positive epitope fragment? I found one paper on the subject: COBEpro: a novel system for predicting continuous B-cell epitopes by Michael J. Sweredoski and Pierre Baldi
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Exocytosis of mast cell secretory granules

I've been doing a bit of reading about mast cell degranulation and have become thoroughly lost while trying to understand how the secretory granules are actually secreted. I understand that there are ...
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202 views

How would the human body adjust to sleep times if we were to live in a place with different day lengths?

You sleep at night and are active during the day that's how things work for humans, but theoretically if a human whose parents lived on earth were to be born in another planet resembling earth but the ...
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267 views

How was the first ribosome theorized to have been made?

Seeing as ribosomes are what help perform the act of translation itself, and the blueprints for they themselves are in nucleotide sequences, how was the first ribosome theorized to have been made? ...
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273 views

Does GTP-γS (GTP gamma S) bind all GTP-binding proteins?

I've just read an article Rab10 GTPase regulates ER dynamics and morphology - Nature Cell Biology 15, 169–178 (2013) doi:10.1038/ncb2647. In this paper, to identify Rab proteins in ER, first they ...
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332 views

Computational/mathematical models for predicting phenotype from genotype

Karr, Sanghvi, et al. (2012) propose a whole-cell computational model for predicting phenotype from genotype in Mycoplasma genitalium. Their model simulates myriad cell processes such as DNA ...
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172 views

What allows Valonia ventricosa cells to get so big?

Valonia ventricosa are single celled algae that range between one and few centimeters. In rare cases they can reach sizes exceeding 5cm. Weirdly, a lot of the literature covering these organisms ...
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How are synaptic vesicles brought to the synapse?

I'm reading about how synaptobrevin is used to identify synaptic vesicles for tethering near the synaptic cleft. Since neurons have a synapse and dendrites, I'd like to know how exactly the vesicles ...
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908 views

Is there a relationship between efficiency of cellular metabolism and warm-blooded-ness?

My BIO 101 book states that when human cells convert glucose to ATP, the process is only approx 35% efficient, and much of the potential energy is lost as heat. However, that heat is useful to us in ...
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378 views

How similar are Circulating Tumor Cells and Cancer Stem Cells?

Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) are linked with metastasis and their presence can be used to indicate the onset of metastatic cancer. Likewise, the Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) hypothesis suggests that ...
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142 views

What are the lifetimes of cellular components on organelle or molecular level?

I was thinking that even though I know how generally the cell works, I don't really have a feeling of how volatile it is. I want to know what is the lifetime/turnover rate of different constituents of ...
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What is the distinction between chemokines, cytokines, interferons and interleukins?

They all seem to describe molecules of similar function and many people seem to use them interchangeably. Also please include any other similar molecules if I've forgotten any in the list above.
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250 views

How does skin healing work?

I stacked my bike and split my head right open. About three weeks later the scab falls off and the skin is sealed over, like magic! How does it all work? How does the brain know that part of the ...
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505 views

How to Design an siRNA Experiment?

I'm going to undertake an siRNA experiment soon, but I have only read about them. I want to address the role an enzyme plays in processing a protein. From what I understand, I will need to pick two ...
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147 views

What gaseous substances do humans emit?

Other than CO₂ and Methane what other gases do humans produce or emit? For example, does skin decomposition, or aerobic respiration emit any special gases that people don't normally realize or know ...
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76 views

Macrophage pathogen fixation

Overly simplified, macrophages recognise pathogenic patterns and endocytose anything that matches them. That also works on bacteria, which are quite often very mobile. What if a bacterium was just ...
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208 views

What's a good reference for choosing histological staining chemicals?

It's often difficult to find the appropriate or best stain to use when I want to examine a new type of tissue. I think that's partly because many histological techniques were developed a long time ...
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135 views

Why do some internal organs regenerate?

I have been reading about the human liver and zebra fish heart muscle having the ability to regenerate. It seems to me that these organs have very little chance to become damaged or worn out. At the ...
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75 views

Gap junction turnover

Gap junction proteins, connexins, are known to form intercellular hemichannels, between two adjacent cells. These junctions are maintained cell adhesion proteins (cadherins), yet the turnover of ...
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352 views

Which of the cell types commonly found in mammals has the greatest number of mitochondria?

This is basically a fun question, inspired by this answer on scifi.se. So, which cell type will have the greatest number of mitochondria? Obviously, I am talking about wild type, healthy individuals ...
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173 views

Number of spindle fibres during Metaphase?

During metaphase, the chromosomes are arranged on the equatorial plate and are attached to spindle fibres. After S phase, can the cell be said to attain the configuration of 4n? Also, during ...
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119 views

Macromolecule levels in daughter cells after fission

When a prokaryote undergoes binary fission, how are the non-DNA macromolecules distributed between the two daughter cells? This is motivated by comments on a previous question and a G+ discussion. I ...
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366 views

Intrinsic apoptosis in erythrocytes

With a lack of mitochondria, can red blood cells perform intrinsic apoptosis and do they have another way of generating cytochrome c to attach to a CARD domain and assemble the apoptosome? Or are ...
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69 views

How are chromatids correctly segregated during mitosis?

In my book this is described as happening by kinetochores depolymerising from their attached microtubule spindle, then being dragged towards the spindle's centrosome by a dynein protein. I can ...
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277 views

Primary cilia: what cell types have non-motile cilia that migrate?

My understanding is that there are two broad categories of cilia: motile and non-motile (also called primary. Examples of the former include sperm flagella and the cilia of epithelial cells that ...
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Can NSAIDs impact negatively the healing of tendons?

There are a number of articles regarding NSAIDs having a negative effect on healing conditions like tendonosis and tendinitis. From what I understand the channel through which they reduce inflammation ...