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Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology

Deciphering the molecular mechanisms of mitotic spindle behaviour

In a multicellular organism when a life form begins at the one-cell stage embryo, how do different cell types come into existence during development? Part of the answer to this puzzles lies in the process of asymmetric cell division. During asymmetric cell division a cell undergoes division in such a way that it produces two daughter cells with distinct fates and thus having different developmental potential.

Biosensors to unravel the insidious nature of TB and HIV

Today, a staggering two billion people –a third of the world’s population – are infected by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). But there is no need to flash the trefoil and sound the alarms: Just because one is infected with TB does not necessarily imply that one suffers from TB. Indeed, the reason why Mtb is such a successful pathogen is that it can play the waiting game: it lurks – dormant and benign – in the body of the host for decades, before becoming infectious. Thus, it is only in a small fraction of the billions of the infected that the latent Mtb cells reactivate themselves and mount a full-blown TB attack. But what is most disturbing is that during their dormant phase, the Mtb mainly lives inside the host’s macrophage cells –what should have killed the Mtb cells end up harbouring them.

Listening to plants talk: studies on plant development

Plants and animals are similar to each other in being made up of multiple cells. They start off as a single parent cell which divides into many, taking up different functions and making tissues where cells communicate with each other. The culmination of this development process is a whole organism, with its different organs as we recognize them. However, the paths leading from a single cell to an organism can be vastly different from each other.

Antiviral properties of pomegranate peel extract

The hepatitis C virus is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease, which can lead to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Around 170 million people are infected with the virus worldwide. Compounds isolated from the extract of Pomegranate peel inhibit the growth of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a recent study has found.