New Method Mimics Cell Adhesion
A method that mimics the way cells adhere with each other has been developed by New York University scientists and may have industrial applications, including aiding in the creation of viable, artificial tissue.
The study created an oil-in-water solution with similar surface properties to those of biological cells. The compressed oil droplets tend to stick together in a way that is similar to the way biological cells adhere to each other.
The applications vary from being able to successfully create biological material that can be integrated with existing cells in a human or animal to consumer products. Medicine can be more effectively delievered with less fallout, and many products such as butter, ice cream, and milk all use complex biological adhesive processes which could be furthered and bettered through these findings.
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Cell adhesion is a crucial property of biology. The cells must adhere in such a way that they are able to become inter-connected and can delegate processes between them. This in turn allows tissues and organs to exist, larger communities of cells which are adhered together to take on more complex tasks.
However, since the nature of cell-to-cell interaction is so complex despite their miniscule size, the researchers chose to try and emulate the surface properties with a simpler solution: oil in water. This allowed them to rule out any other participatory factors.
By looking at the electrostatic charges due to different levels of salt in the oil-in-water mixture, the scientists at NYU were able to create an environment where the proteins on the oil droplets adhered to each other.