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Golgi's job stretches it thin

Role of a crucial protein helps answer why the cell’s transportation hub looks like a stack of pancakes

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4:40pm, October 15, 2009

Researchers have pinpointed a protein that keeps the trains running through the cell’s Grand Central station.

The protein works in tandem with other molecules to pull membrane packets off the surface of a cell’s Golgi apparatus, giving the crucial organelle its distinctive flattened shape.

“It’s a nice simple mechanism for how the shape of something is a consequence of its function,” says Seth Field of the University of California, San Diego and a coauthor of the study, which appears in the Oct. 16 Cell. “It’s a lot simpler than people would have guessed.”

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