• How did the modern eukaryotic cell acquire its transport system?

    The inside of a present day plant or animal cell quite closely resembles a busy city. Like an urban metropolis with different districts interlinked by a traffic network, a cell has distinct compartments connected to each other by a dynamic transport system.

    One set of such interlinked compartments - the Golgi complex - is essential for many cellular functions, and a question that has long puzzled scientists is: how did such a complex compartment and traffic system arise within a cell?

  • A tail of gene expression

    Imagine trying to fly a kite without a tail. It swoops and loops and wiggles and finally crashes down into the ground. A kite without a tail is unstable, but add a tail at the right place, and your kite will fly steady.

  • A brain circuit to push past nutritional stress

    The researchers have discovered an integrative circuit of nerve cells in fruit fly brains that allows them to ignore the lack of proteins in their food to enter the pupal stage.

  • Can a brain scan early in stress predict eventual memory loss?

    New research now shows that even a brief period of stress can cause the hippocampus to start shrinking.

  • Moving objects and flowing air: How bees position their antennae during flight

    Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore propose that airflow measured by bee antennae could be critical for their ability to gauge flight speed. And to do this, they must be able to position their antennae correctly.

  • The rise of the complex modern cell

    Complex modern cells - the ones that you and I are made up of - may be the result of a long-drawn courtship, rather than a hasty marriage between two types of structurally simple cells.

    Every modern eukaryotic cell is distinct from prokaryotic cells in two striking ways. One, eukaryotes possess mitochondria or 'powerhouses' that generate energy, and two, every eukaryotic cell is elaborately divided into dynamic compartments with distinct functions. The origin of these compartments has been a source of intense debate.

  • Guarding the gatekeepers

    Latest research from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, gives us new insights into how Orai proteins are regulated. Researcher Bipan Kumar Deb from Gaiti Hasan's group has discovered that the protein Septin 7 guards Orai function by acting as a 'molecular brake' to Orai activation.

  • Large wildlife important for carbon storage in tropical forests

    In a recent study in the journal Nature Communications, researchers find that large-seeded tree species which depend on big animals for seed dispersal, grow to greater sizes as adults and thus have higher carbon storage potential than species with smaller seeds in tropical forests worldwide.

  • Reconstructing the cell surface in a test tube

    Scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore have managed to do exactly that - construct the cell surface from its constituent parts, namely, a mixture of lipids and proteins. This reconstruction creates a crucial tool researchers can use to test theories on cell surface dynamics.

  • Spelling mutations and evolutionary advantages

    Working on the bacterium Methylobacterium extorquens, the research group created several synonymous variants of a gene called fae. This gene codes for a metabolic enzyme essential for survival and growth in an environment where the only source of carbon comes from methanol or methylamine.

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