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Purdue Team Co-Authors article published in the Journal Nature Communications


A recently published article in Nature Communications is the result of a research team collaboration between Professors Srividya Iyer-Biswas (Purdue University) and Senthil Arumugam (Monash University). The research study was co-led by Harrison York of Monash University, and Kunaal Joshi and Charles Wright of Purdue University.

The article, “Deterministic early endosomal maturations emerge from a stochastic trigger-and-convert mechanism” is published in open access format.

The authors’ findings advance scientific understanding of cell logistics and molecule movement within cells. The academic collaboration combines several academic disciplines, including physics, molecular biology, biomedicine, biochemistry, and molecular science.

Nature Communications is an open-access journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural sciences. Papers published by the journal represent important advances of significance to specialists within each field.


Authors' Abstract and Summary

Cells are master logisticians when it comes to transporting cargo around their interiors. But how do they make deliveries with a high degree of precision, when each of the individual steps is so noisy? New research from a joint team from Purdue and Monash Universities reveals a novel mechanism by which this occurs.

The cells in our bodies contain little bubble-like compartments, called endosomes, that transport material acquired from the outside. By biochemical conversions of molecules on their surfaces, endosomes mature over time to deliver their cargoes to the right destinations.

This study reveals that collisions between immature and mature endosomes help trigger the maturation process. The team used advanced microscopy techniques to watch endosomes bumping into each other inside living cells, combined with theoretical modeling to support a model where, when an immature endosome collides with a mature one, key proteins get transferred over. This “seeds” the immature endosome to start maturing. Blocking this transfer prevents the maturation process, suggesting maturation relies on these collision-induced triggers.

The researchers propose this mechanism allows cells to tightly control when endosomes mature. This ensures orderly and timed delivery of molecular cargo to the correct destinations within the cell. These findings provide a new model for how random collisions between cellular compartments can regulate an orderly maturation process crucial for molecular transport in cells. The research reveals that seemingly chaotic movements can actually kickstart precise timing mechanisms.

By uncovering this “trigger and convert” process, the study significantly advances our understanding of the complex logistics that cells use to accurately distribute molecules where they need to go.


About the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University

Purdue's Department of Physics and Astronomy has a rich and long history dating back to 1904. Our faculty and students are exploring nature at all length scales, from the subatomic to the macroscopic and everything in between. With an excellent and diverse community of faculty, postdocs, and students who are pushing new scientific frontiers, we offer a dynamic learning environment, an inclusive research community, and an engaging network of scholars.

Physics and Astronomy is one of the seven departments within the Purdue University College of Science. World-class research is performed in astrophysics, atomic and molecular optics, accelerator mass spectrometry, biophysics, condensed matter physics, quantum information science, particle, and nuclear physics.

Our state-of-the-art facilities are in the Physics Building, but our researchers also engage in interdisciplinary work at Discovery Park District at Purdue, particularly the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center. We also participate in global research including at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, many national laboratories (such as Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, etc.), the James Webb Space Telescope, and several observatories around the world. 

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2023 2:20 PM

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