It is important to know when to stop. A cell has to know when to stop expanding. A flower's pistil and its stamen when to stop elongating. And a flagellum to stop extending. Because there is a fair chance that without this knowledge, it would be difficult to keep organisms alive. But how do all these various parts of living matter know when the time has come to stop growing? There must be a mechanism of some kind. A sort of molecular device which holds up a STOP sign, or acts as a means of measure when something has reached the required shape or length. Recently, such a scheme was discovered in the flagella of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; a ruler of sorts that defines not only the length of the units which make up the axoneme but also the nature of the flagellum's structure. This molecular yardstick is a protein known as coiled-coil domain-containing protein 40 - or CCDC40.
More from Protein Spotlight
Tales From A Small World
Tales From A Small World is a collection of the first hundred articles which originally appeared on this site. Published in September 2009, the book is enriched by poems from the Dublin poet, Pat Ingoldsby. Learn more and order your copy online.
Journey Into A Tiny World
« Globin and Poietin set out to save Lily's life. But time is running short and they can't find the marrow... Here is the tale of their courage, fun and laughter on a journey that takes them deep into the tiniest of worlds.» For children. Learn more and order your copy online.
Snapshot : Aquaporin
Everyone needs a holiday. Even a drop of water. Especially if it has spent its life in urban surroundings. And that is exactly what three molecules of water do in "Aquaporin? Wet's it for?", a play written by Sylvie Déthiollaz and Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen of the Swiss-Prot group. The play was recently published on our site in French and the English version will follow shortly. Aquaporin is a protein that deals with the passage of water in organisms as diverse as dandelions and mosquitoes. Thanks to its diversity of expression, coupled with its capacity to offer privileged transport to water molecules, the three companions find their way from the slums of Geneva to the French Riviera.
A little bit of praise!
“I recently stumbled upon your columns. Let me congratulate you on achieving the near impossible, for your articles have enabled me to successfully marry IT with the Life Sciences and better explain the concepts of bioinformatics to those who are not in the know of the field.
Your articles are very well written, lucid, and contain just enough information to excite the reader to want to learn more about the topic being discussed. They fall in a very rare category where they are accessible to everyone, from the undergraduate students to research students who want to have a basic idea of the topics being discussed. Some of your articles, like "Our hollow architecture" and "Throb" are outstanding pieces.
I would highly recommend your articles as a necessary reading in undergrad classes to get students inspired about the various avenues of research.”