Research report 2016 - Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Cells in stand-by mode - How cells escape starvation by solidifying
Alberti, Simon; Munder, Matthias Christoph
Simon Alberti Group, Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik, Dresden
SummaryWhen cells do not get enough nutrients, their energy level drops. This leads to a decrease of the pH value of the liquid interior of the cell, the cytoplasm – the cells acidify. In response, the cells enter into a kind of stand-by mode, enabling them to survive. How cells switch on and off this stand-by mode is unknown. The Max-Planck researchers might have found the answer: The cytoplasm of the seemingly dead cells changes its consistency from liquid to solid, thereby protecting the sensitive structures in the cellular interior.