Biopolymers in vivo

Biopolymers are covalently bonded linear structures produced by living organisms, including polynucleotides, like RNA and DNA; polypeptides, from which proteins are formed; and polysaccharides, comprising carbohydrates. Biopolymers in vivo refers to these polymers when they are studied in the cells of whole living organisms.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Actomyosin networks with rapid turnover self-organize within droplets, forming a dynamic steady-state with persistent flows. The networks exhibit homogeneous, density-independent contraction, implying that active stress scales with viscosity.

    • Maya Malik-Garbi
    • , Niv Ierushalmi
    • , Silvia Jansen
    • , Enas Abu-Shah
    • , Bruce L. Goode
    • , Alex Mogilner
    •  & Kinneret Keren
  • Research |

    Changes in membrane curvature influence how migrating cells navigate their environment. Experiments and modelling reveal that dynamic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton in response to these changes provides cells with a sensing mechanism.

    • Tianchi Chen
    • , Andrew Callan-Jones
    • , Eduard Fedorov
    • , Andrea Ravasio
    • , Agustí Brugués
    • , Hui Ting Ong
    • , Yusuke Toyama
    • , Boon Chuan Low
    • , Xavier Trepat
    • , Tom Shemesh
    • , Raphaël Voituriez
    •  & Benoît Ladoux
  • Research | | open

    The promoter variant rs35705950 confers a gain of function to the MUC5B gene and is the dominant risk factor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Here the authors show that mice overexpressing Muc5b in distal airspaces show impaired mucociliary clearance and increased susceptibility to bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, and that both characteristics are reduced by treatment with a mucolytic agent.

    • Laura A. Hancock
    • , Corinne E. Hennessy
    • , George M. Solomon
    • , Evgenia Dobrinskikh
    • , Alani Estrella
    • , Naoko Hara
    • , David B. Hill
    • , William J. Kissner
    • , Matthew R. Markovetz
    • , Diane E. Grove Villalon
    • , Matthew E. Voss
    • , Guillermo J. Tearney
    • , Kate S. Carroll
    • , Yunlong Shi
    • , Marvin I. Schwarz
    • , William R. Thelin
    • , Steven M. Rowe
    • , Ivana V. Yang
    • , Christopher M. Evans
    •  & David A. Schwartz
  • Research | | open

    The nucleolus is a membrane-less organelle and both Nucleophosmin (NPM1) and Surfeit locus protein 6 (SURF6) are abundant proteins within the nucleolus. Here the authors employ biophysical methods to study the properties of NPM1-S6N droplets and provide insights into the role of SURF6 in maintaining and modulating the liquid-like structure of the nucleolus.

    • Mylene C. Ferrolino
    • , Diana M. Mitrea
    • , J. Robert Michael
    •  & Richard W. Kriwacki
  • Research | | open

    Despite their importance in plant development and defence the properties of (1,3)-β-glucan remain largely unknown. Here, the authors find that addition of (1,3)-β-glucans increases the flexibility of cellulose and its resilience to high strain, an effect originating in molecular level interactions.

    • Radwa H. Abou-Saleh
    • , Mercedes C. Hernandez-Gomez
    • , Sam Amsbury
    • , Candelas Paniagua
    • , Matthieu Bourdon
    • , Shunsuke Miyashima
    • , Ykä Helariutta
    • , Martin Fuller
    • , Tatiana Budtova
    • , Simon D. Connell
    • , Michael E. Ries
    •  & Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso
  • Research | | open

    Shi Yu et al. show that the dynamics of fluorescently labeled DNA loci and cytoplasmic particles in E. coli respond differently to mechanical compression of the cell. These results suggest DNA elasticity is more important for determining the diffusivity of DNA loci in response to mechanical force than is cytoplasmic viscoelasticity.

    • Shi Yu
    • , Julian Sheats
    • , Pietro Cicuta
    • , Bianca Sclavi
    • , Marco Cosentino Lagomarsino
    •  & Kevin D. Dorfman

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Magnetic tweezer measurements have revealed the forces associated with a star-shaped structure responsible for moving the sperm nucleus to the centre of the egg cell following fertilization.

    • Carlos Garzon-Coral
    •  & Jonathon Howard
    Nature Physics 14, 778-779
  • Editorial |

    Spider webs are designed to cope with stress and disruption, favouring repair over rebuilding.

    Nature 482, 6