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Better sensing through empty receptors

New model suggests cells may be more sensitive to their environment than previously thought

By
4:04pm, September 25, 2009

Cells may benefit by paying attention to sensors that are still open for business.

A new model finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, sensors on the outside of a cell that have not yet detected a chemical signal may be more useful than those that have already detected the signal, a study set to appear in Physical Review Letters suggests. By reconsidering how a cell sorts information, Ned Wingreen of Princeton University and Robert Endres of Imperial College London found that these unbound sensors can collectively provide a clearer view of the environment.
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