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Cells use flow fields from contractile movement to synchronize toxin release in unison

Cells use flow fields from contractile movement to synchronize toxin release in unison

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Observations of cellular life in a local marsh lead researchers to the discovery of a new type of intercellular communication. Crouching in the boot-sucking mud of the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, peered through his Foldscope — a $1.75 origami microscope of his own invention — scrutinizing the inhabitants of the marsh’s brackish waters. With his eye trained on a large single-cell organism, called Spirostomum, he watched it do something that immediately made it his next research subject. “I still remember for the very first time, seeing this organism swim by under the Foldscope,” said Prakash. “This is a massive cell but it contracts in less than a blink of an eye, accelerating faster than almost any other single cell. When you aren’t expecting it, it’s like it disappears. I remember being so excited, I had to bring the cells back to the lab and take a careful look.”
Source: Cells use flow fields from contractile movement to synchronize toxin release in unison

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