Better understanding cell motility could be very useful for cancer research and finding new ways to prevent cancer cells from moving through the body.
The “cytoskeleton” is a crisscrossing network of protein chains that wrap around the inside edge of a cell, giving it shape, and which takes “orders” from the messenger protein network – to provide movement, this network builds itself up in a given area, therefore pushing the cell’s membrane outward and creating a hand-like projection that can “grip” the external environment and pull the cell forward. And what scientists recently observed is that even when the sensor proteins that provide cues to the messenger network are remove, the messenger still continues to work, telling the cytoskeleton to create projections here and there, seemingly randomly!
You can read more about the research in the full press release: http://bit.ly/1ajxehp
Image: Diagram of a hand-like projection (left) versus the rhythmic “ruffling” of the cell membrane (right) that occur with and without the activation of the messenger protein network. Credit: Devreotes lab