Top 12 Cell Biology News in 2017

Top Cell Biology News In 2017

Cell Biology News in 2017: Cell biology is the branch of biology that studies the cell structure, its organization of the organelles, their metabolic processes, their physiological properties, signaling pathways, life cycle, and interactions with their environment.

In the field of cell biology, there are several technological advancements and innovations every year.

In this article, we will focus on top 12 cell biology news, breakthroughs and research studies in 2017.

Top 12 Cell Biology News in 2017

Recreation of Mammalian Tissues By Developmental Biology Study

Mammalian Tissues
Mammalian Tissues (Source: Wikimedia)

Recent studies in developmental biology revealed that complex folded shapes that eventually become mammalian tissues could be recreated. This technique involves creating patterns of human or mouse cells on extracellular fiber layers. The cells then fold into different shapes that can eventually give rise to tissues.

Reference: “Engineered Tissue Folding by Mechanical Compaction of the Mesenchyme”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

German Researchers Find Selenium’s Role in Enzyme GPX

Brain Interneurons

Researchers in Germany elucidated the central role Selenium plays in mammalian development. Selenium forms a part of the enzyme GPX as selenocysteine. This enzyme protects interneurons in the brain.

Reference: “Selenium Utilization by GPX4 Is Required to Prevent Hydroperoxide-Induced Ferroptosis”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Study Confirms CTL-1 Protein’s Role in Choline Transport

A recent study published in the PLOS journal revealed the role of a protein called CTL-1 involved in choline transport. This protein was found to be a major contributor in cellular processes such as vesicle trafficking, ion homeostasis, and the development and growth of plants.

Reference: “A new vesicle trafficking regulator CTL1 plays a crucial role in ion homeostasis”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Cure For Genetic Deafness Using Genome Editing Agent

Genetic Deafness

Scientists at the Howard Hughes medical institute discovered that genetic deafness in mice could be cured by treatment with a genome editing agent. This technology could one day be used to cure certain variant forms of deafness in humans. See the autosomal recessive inheritance page for more details.

Reference: “Treatment of autosomal dominant hearing loss by in vivo delivery of genome editing agents | Nature”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

DNA Origami Inside Living Cells For Optimal Drug Delivery

DNA origami
DNA origami (Source: Flickr)

Researchers at the Arizona State University succeeded in creating a single long strand of DNA or RNA that can self-fold to form large complex structures. This technique, known as DNA origami can be carried out inside living cells and used for drug delivery at the nanoscale.

Reference: “Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami | Science”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Discovery of Dicer Protein in Fruit Fly To Kill Viruses

Fruit-fly Dicer Protein

A recent study carried out at the University of Utah revealed a tiny cellular machine that is capable of killing viruses. A protein found in the fruit fly, called Dicer, is found to have anti-viral properties. As the virus releases its DNA into the target cell, the Dicer protein catches hold of this DNA and chops it off, thus eliminating the viral particle and preventing infection.

Reference: “Dicer uses distinct modules for recognizing dsRNA termini | Science”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Keeping VEGF Levels In Check Prevents Blindness

White Blood Cells

John Hopkins researchers identified a cell signaling pathway involved in diabetic retinopathy. A growth factor known as VEGF was found at high levels in the retina, which attracts white blood cells and clogs the blood vessels, reducing blood flow, leading to blindness. Reducing VEGF levels may restore blood flow to the retina thus preventing blindness.

Reference: “JCI Insight – Reversible retinal vessel closure from VEGF-induced leukocyte plugging”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Discovery of Kidney Stones via Calcium Ion Channel – TRPV5

Kidney Stones

A study published in Nature Structural and molecular biology elucidated the structure of a calcium ion channel called TRPV5 found in the kidney cell membrane. Inhibitors bind to the calcium channel thereby inactivating it. This cause calcium to remain in the kidney and form kidney stones.

Reference: “Structural basis of TRPV5 channel inhibition by econazole revealed by cryo-EM | Nature Structural & Molecular Biology”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Scripps Institute Explains The Structure of Piezo1 Protein

Physical Touch

Scripps Institute researchers succeeded in elucidating the structure of a protein called Piezo1. This protein is responsible for converting physical stimuli such as touch into chemical signals. The results from this study can be used to find a cure for diseases that are caused by a dysfunctional or mutated Peizo1 protein.

Reference: “Structure of the mechanically activated ion channel Piezo1 | Nature”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Avoidance of Cell Death in Diabetes by Cellular Reprogramming

Cell death

A recent study published in ‘Cell Reports’ demonstrated how cells function and adapt to stress factors. By re-programming their internal cellular networks and signaling pathways, they avoid cell death under stressful conditions such as water loss. The results from this study can be used to design therapeutics to prevent cell death in diseases such as diabetes.

Reference: “GADD34 Function in Protein Trafficking Promotes Adaptation to Hyperosmotic Stress in Human Corneal Cells”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Better E-coli Antibiotics From A New Research


Scientists at the OIST graduate University have further understood the process of cell division in E.coli. This type of bacteria can cause a host of different illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea. The findings from this study can help gain new insights into the design of antibiotics for these diseases.

Reference: “Spatial separation of FtsZ and FtsN during cell division”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Study Explains “Force Detection” Process At The Cellular Level

Cell Signalling
Source: Wikimedia

A recent study published in nature described how a cell senses its environment and position of molecules in its environment. The process is called force detection, and it occurs when ligands join together, cells apply a force according to the ligand’s position in the environment, and this allows the cell to detect its surroundings.

Reference: “Force loading explains spatial sensing of ligands by cells | Nature”. Accessed January 06, 2018. Link.

Cite this article as: "Top 12 Cell Biology News in 2017," in Bio Explorer, January 6, 2018,
Top 12 Cell Biology News in 2017
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