The Department of Biomedicine

Nanotubes help cells pass messages

Nature article related to cell communication.

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Professor Hans-Hermann Gerdes and a team around his research group at the Department of Biomedicine has published new findings on cell communication in the prestigious journals PNAS and Nature.

Gerdes has earlier shown that cells communicate with one another through inter-connecting filaments, so-called nanotubes. Later research established that cells use these for the transport of small molecules, proteins and large cellular components. The group has now shown that cells can communicate with one another by sending electrical signals through these tubes.

Post doc Xiang Wang, an expert in biophysics in the group of Gerdes, made this discovery. When he applied an electrical signal to one single cell he registered the same signal in another cell to which it was connected through a nanotutube. The discovery was later confirmed by electrophysiologist Margaret Lin Veruki in the research group led by Professor Espen Hartveit in the Department of Biomedicine.

Gerdes's research group