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Talin’s tail controls cell cycle

Integrins are cell surface receptors that have crucial roles in sensing the extracellular matrix environment and delivering signals to control how cells behave. It has been known for a long time that integrins are essential for cell cycle, but it was not well understood which components within the Read more

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How cells know where to go to heal a wound

In normal skin, the layer just below the skin’s surface, the dermis, contains collagen and stationary fibroblast cells. When such tissue is wounded, cells detect damage via changes in their environment. Plasma leaking from broken blood vessels causes fibroblast cells to migrate into the damaged Read more

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Collapsing the matrix: TSG-6 cross-links hyaluronan chains

TSG-6 plays a role in the remodelling/reorganization of hyaluronan-rich ECM during inflammation and ovulation.  Hyaluronan (or HA for short) is a type of sugar molecule that forms long polymer chains, which have an important structural role in most tissues. HA also controls the adhesion and Read more

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New advances help understand inflammatory bowel disease

Mammals have evolved a complex immune system to fight off infections from the huge number of pathogens that try to colonize our bodies. This process begins when dendritic cells present small molecules, known as antigens, of these pathogens to T-cells of the immune system. The T-cells recognize the Read more

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A sticky end for parasitic worms

Parasitic worms are a major cause of disease and death in the Third World, as well as in domestic pets and livestock. Worms such as whipworm live in the gut, which is lined by a thick barrier of mucus. Mucus is a complex mixture of salts, water and large specialised ‘sugar-coated’ proteins called Read more

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TSG-6 regulates the activity of bone resorbing cells

In our previous work we have found that a protein called TSG-6, which is made during inflammation, is a novel regulator of bone turnover. We discovered that this protein could regulate the activity of a special type of bone cell called an osteoclast, which removes bone tissue in a process known as Read more

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Tendons encased in basement membrane prevent cell loss and adhesion formation

Tendons are fibrous tissues that attach muscle to bone. The repetitive action of contraction and relaxation of muscles requires that tendons glide smoothly past neighboring tissues. After tendon damage by surgery, injury, infection or disease, abnormal fibrous adhesions form between the surface of Read more

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Solving the structure of nature’s elasticity stretches the possibilities for engineering flexible materials

Elastin is a protein that allows tissues to stretch, for example when the lungs expand and contract during breathing, or when arteries expand and contract as the heart beats. It is the co-ordinated assembly of many tropoelastins into elastin that gives tissues their stretchy properties. The high Read more