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A stepwise retreat: How immune cells catch pathogens

ameters match the properties of a class of proteins called myosins suggesting them as the driving force of filopodia retraction. Myosins are motor proteins, proteins that move along actin filaments and transport cargo. Transporting the filopodias internal scaffold myosins help bringing about the retraction. Likely several copies of myosin proteins act in a synchronous fashion to bring about the tentacle motion.

The insights we gained into the properties of filopodia retraction and the possible molecular mechanism underlying them could find applications in nanotechnology, says Alexander Rohrbach a former member of Stelzers group who is now a professor at the University of Freiburg. Future synthetic nano-machines must integrate themselves into a system and have to react flexibly to changes within the system. Precisely these properties we have now observed in filopodia retraction. The fascinating principles, which we are beginning to understand, will certainly influence the design of such machines.


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Contact: Anna-Lynn Wegener
wegener@embl.de
49-622-138-7452
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
11-Jul-2007


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