Protein team produces molecular barrels

Research groups headed by Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Pfanner, Dr. Nils Wiedemann, and Dr. Thomas Becker from the University of Freiburg and their colleagues have demonstrated how molecular protein barrels form in the outer membrane ...

Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production

In the search for renewable alternatives to gasoline, heavy alcohols such as isobutanol are promising candidates. Not only do they contain more energy than ethanol, but they are also more compatible with existing gasoline-based ...

Living cells behave like fluid-filled sponges

Animal cells behave like fluid-filled sponges in response to being mechanically deformed according to new research published today in Nature Materials.

A new glow for electron microscopy

The glowing green molecule known as green fluorescent protein (GFP) has revolutionized molecular biology. When GFP is attached to a particular protein inside a cell, scientists can easily identify and locate it using fluorescence ...

Cell biology: new insights into the life of microtubules

Every second, around 25 million cell divisions take place in our bodies. This process is driven by microtubule filaments which continually grow and shrink. A new study shows how so-called motor proteins in the cytosol can ...

How a molecular traffic jam impacts cell division

Interdisciplinary research between biology and physics aims to understand the cell and how it organizes internally. The mechanisms inside the cell are very complicated. LMU biophysicist Professor Erwin Frey, who is also a ...

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Cytosol

The cytosol or intracellular fluid (or cytoplasmic matrix) is the liquid found inside cells, that is separated into compartments by membranes. For example, the mitochondrial matrix separates the mitochondrion into compartments.

The contents of a eukaryotic cell within the cell membrane (excluding the cell nucleus), is referred to as the cytoplasm. In prokaryotes, most of the chemical reactions of metabolism take place in the cytosol, while a few take place in membranes or in the periplasmic space. In eukaryotes, while many metabolic pathways still occur in the cytosol, others are contained within organelles.

The cytosol is a complex mixture of substances dissolved in water. Although water forms the large majority of the cytosol, its structure and properties within cells is not well understood. The concentrations of ions such as sodium and potassium are different in the cytosol than in the extracellular fluid; these differences in ion levels are important in processes such as osmoregulation and cell signaling. The cytosol also contains large amounts of macromolecules, which can alter how molecules behave, through macromolecular crowding.

Although once thought to be a simple solution of molecules, multiple levels of organization exist in the cytosol. These include concentration gradients of small molecules such as calcium, large complexes of enzymes that act together to carry out metabolic pathways, and protein complexes such as proteasomes and carboxysomes that enclose and separate parts of the cytosol.

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