New cell membrane fusion model challenges dogma

Membrane fusion lies at the heart of many cell functions—from the secretion of antibodies to the release of neurotransmitters. For more than two decades, one view of the process by which membrane fusion occurs has been accepted as dogma; now recent studies indicate that fusion  … Read more

Membrane Fission: It Takes a Crowd

Biologists have long believed that cell membrane fission occurs after epsin molecules wedge themselves into the membrane’s surface, causing small pits that eventually bulge out and separate into new membrane structures. But researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a previously unknown  … Read more

Leveraging the Ever-Growing CRISPR-Cas9 Biology Toolkit

When CRISPR-Cas9 came on the scene in early 2013, the talk swirling around it focused on embryonic gene editing or whether it could be used to treat disease. But molecular biologists realized almost immediately what this cool new tool could mean for lab work. They’ve  … Read more

On the Way to Causing Microcephaly, Zika Blocks Centriole Biogenesis

Although the Zika virus tends to cause few, if any, symptoms in the adults it infects, its effects on embryos and fetuses can be devastating. Outbreaks in Brazil and Central America only in the past year have been tied to increases in congenital neurodevelopmental conditions,  … Read more

Quality Control

Research in biology is driven by the constant tension between what we know (much) and what we don’t (much more). Take the question of the transcription of messenger RNA in the cell nucleus. Rob Singer of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, who has pioneered new microscopy techniques for live imaging of single  … Read more

Figuring Out the Folds: Biomimicry and Tissue Origami

If we could engineer human organs and other tissues, we could move beyond the need for donor organs and perhaps screen potential new medical therapies on manufactured tissues before going into clinical trials. Unfortunately, however, the complexity of how different types of human tissue knit  … Read more

Catching Single Molecules in the Act

The ongoing quest to delve ever deeper into a living cell has brought new insight into dynamic biological processes. But conditions inside a cell, including crowds of individual molecules, often flout the best efforts of modern imaging technology to observe activity. And that’s not to  … Read more

E.B. Wilson Medal—Mina Bissell

  It is not every day that a scientific society gives its top award to a scientist who already has a top award named after herself. This December 6 at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the ASCB will bestow the E.B. Wilson Medal, its  … Read more

Bacteria Produce Aphrodisiac That Sets Off Protozoan Mating Swarm

Researchers seeking the evolutionary roots of the animal kingdom have discovered a bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, that acts as an aphrodisiac on a species of protozoan choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals, by releasing an enzyme that sends Salpinogoeca rosetta, into a full mating frenzy.  … Read more

Cellular Communities

Bacteria may seem like exceedingly simple and lonely organisms, but more and more evidence shows they can communicate, act collectively, and respond to their changing environments. At the 2016 ASCB Annual Meeting “Cellular Communities” Symposium, Bonnie Bassler, professor at Princeton University and Howard Hughes Medical  … Read more