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Strange

Cells Talk and Help One Another via Tiny Tube Networks

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Fascinating. A whole new communication method has been discovered between cells: tunnelling nanotubes.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/cells-talk-and-help-one-another-via-tiny-tube-networks-20180423/

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Research teams have discovered that TNTs transfer all kinds of cargo beyond microRNAs, including messenger RNAs, proteins, viruses and even whole organelles, such as lysosomes and mitochondria.
...
These fragile structures are appearing not only in the context of conditions such as cancer, AIDS and neurodegenerative diseases, but also in normal embryonic development. Healthy adult cells don’t usually make TNTs, but stressed or ailing cells appear to induce them by sending out signals to call for help.

 

 

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Definitely interesting.

Had kind of wondered why mitochondria seemed unique in the body in terms of propping one another up. Good to know that cells do have something similar they can use.

Preventing it could definitely help with cancer too if that's a key part of their resistance.

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Strange, I could have sworn that I have read something about that about a decade ago. Though those I remember where indeed nm sized, which would insufficient for organelles. hmm.

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 In some cases they are large enough to be considered microtubes rather than nanotubes, and some researchers believe that the smaller TNTs are functionally different from microtubes. Efforts are ongoing to characterize the different subtypes of nano- and microtubes.....

Frank Winkler, a neurologist, oncologist and cancer researcher at the University of Heidelberg, discovered that the brain cancers called gliomas are full of tumor microtubes (TNTs’ larger cousins). He’d noticed these structures while watching single tumor cells grow in the brains of live mice, but he hadn’t recognized their significance. The pathologist with whom he collaborated had attributed them to defects in the preparation of the specimens. Not until Winkler and the pathologist saw these tiny tubes in living cells did they realize that the structures were real.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/cells-talk-and-help-one-another-via-tiny-tube-networks-20180423/

You probably did read about them a decade ago.  IIRC, these were first discovered in 2004. 

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That makes sense. Just too many things to keep track of.

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