A joint team of researchers from the University of Geneva and the University of Tampere has discovered a protein that plays an important role in the perception of the environment.
In an article published in the journal Communications Biology, the group describes their experiments. Scientists have sought to understand how cells form focal adhesions.
Cells must perform certain functions in coordination with other cells for the human body to function properly. Previously, the ways in which cells learned how to communicate their intentions to other cells remained largely a mystery.
Some scientists have suggested that some cells communicate to create and distribute hormones, while others use mechanical signaling. In a new study, biologists have identified a protein that plays an important role in a cell’s perception of the environment.
A protein called paxillin is made on the outside of cells and provides sensory information about nearby material. It also serves as an anchor for other materials with the help of a kind of climbing “crampons”. Cats are spiked metal plates attached to climbers’ boots. They, in turn, allow the climber to secure his foot to rock or ice while climbing.
To better understand the role of paxillin in cell function, researchers have conducted many experiments. This allowed them to see how it interacts with the environment in which the cell exists. The observations confirmed the scientists’ theory – the protein helped cells perceive their environment and make the correct anchor movements when trying to travel.