How cells keep from popping

A protein called SWELL1 found in the cell membrane, shown circling the cell in teal in this model, may help cells control swelling and prevent them from popping. 

Divinemercy/Wikimedia Commons

Cells have a relief valve that keeps them from swelling so much that they burst.

For the past 30 years, scientists have been trying to  pinpoint the molecule that controlled the valve. Now, a team says they have found the protein and gene, called SWELL1, which helps prevent cells from popping.

The result, which appears April 10 in Cell, could help scientists’ understanding of immune deficiency, stroke and diabetes, the team suggests.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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