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Inspire Rings

Steps closer to simulating cell division

04 June 2021

Inspire Rings

Synthetic biologists aim to recreate the tiny building blocks, machines and mechanical quirks found inside our cells. Life inspires their biomimetic machines, but one design remains elusive – how to build a dividing cell. Living cells split using actomyosin rings made from stretchy bundles of actin (highlighted in green) and myosin that contract to ‘pinch’ one cell into two during cytokinesis. Here researchers investigate rings forming around giant unilamellar vesicles – pockets of chemicals that mimic cells – using mathematical models to explore their properties. By generating subtly different rings, and changing how they attach to the vesicle’s membrane, they take a step closer to simulating cell division, understanding more about embryonic development and diseases like cancer.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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