Genes & Cells

How nanotubes trigger a cell’s gag reflex, the skulking 1918 flu and more in this week’s news

By Science News, 13:14 PM September 22, 2011

Carbon nanotubes choke cells
Carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers may seem small, but they can be a big, and deadly, deal to cells. Now researchers at Brown University in Providence, R.I. know why. Cells swallow the long fibers tip-first, the researchers report online September 18 in Nature Nanotechnology. Rounded tips on the fibers cause the cell’s machinery to gear up for swallowing a sphere. Once the cell has begun engulfing the tube it’s too late to stop, and the cell essentially chokes...

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