Nucleus walls are a ticking clock for cell life


New research has found an internal clock for the life of a cell.


Human cell nuclei with fluorescently labeled chromatin (purple) and nuclear envelope (green).
Human cell nuclei with fluorescently labeled chromatin (purple) and nuclear envelope (green).
Fang-Yi Chu and Alexandra Zidovska, Department of Physics, New York University.

The envelope of the nucleus in living cells fluctuates in thickness over a period of a few seconds and changes in these fluctuations indicate the age of the cell, according to a new study.

The research by scientists at New York University took advantage of a state-of-the-art fluorescent microscope that enables them to see extremely small and very fast shape changes of the cell nucleus in living cells.

This allowed them to observe the fluctuations in real time and observe that they become smaller in size as the cell ages, offering for the first time an observable ‘internal clock’ for a cell’s life.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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