Cellular and Microbiology

Mitochondrial Chitter-Chatter: Unveiling the Molecular Structures of Cellular Respiration

September 03, 2019
In order to generate energy, our bodies transfer electrons from food—sugars, fats and proteins—to molecular oxygen, which allows our cells to respire and function. Performed by the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC), this process creates ATP, the “molecular currency” for energy in the cell. In a Molecular Cell study, Assistant Professor James Letts, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and colleagues reveal further nuances of the ETC.

The Infection Heist: How Social Viruses Team Up for the Perfect Score

July 11, 2019
Much like characters in a bank heist, viruses in competitive environments can collaborate for their share of the "score" of successfully co-infecting hosts. But these relationships may change once inside the host cell, according to Assistant Professor Samuel Díaz-Muñoz​.

Disease-Causing Nibbling Amoeba Hides by Displaying Proteins From Host Cells

April 30, 2019
A parasitic amoeba that causes severe gut disease in humans protects itself from attack by biting off pieces of host cells and putting their proteins on its own surface, according to a study by microbiologists at the University of California, Davis.

Visualizing “Unfurling” Microtubule Growth

November 13, 2018
Microtubule fibers are hollow rods made of much smaller tubulin subunits that spontaneously assemble at one end of the rod, but exactly how they do this inside the crowded environment of living cells has been a mystery. UC Davis researchers have uncovered the mechanism that puts these blocks in place, illustrated in a new animation.

“Cellular Memory” of DNA Damage in Oocyte Quality Control

September 27, 2018
During oocyte quality control, a decision is made whether each oocyte should continue and join the reserve of eggs or undergo cellular death. New research from Neil Hunter’s laboratory at UC Davis reveals the surprising way that this critical oocyte quality control process works.

Wayward Ways: New Study Reveals How the Nucleus Travels

September 20, 2018
Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools, Dan Starr created mutant versions of the worm C. elegans, to explore how the nucleus moves and repositions itself in the eukaryotic cell.

Perfect Chemistry: CBS Faculty Are Partners In and Outside the Lab

May 21, 2018
After a long day of teaching and research, biochemists Richard McKenney and Kassandra Ori-McKenney usually find themselves on their patio discussing topics like the cytoskeleton and motor proteins. It’s shop talk for the couple, both assistant professors in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Using DNA Databases to Track Down the Golden State Killer Suspect

May 08, 2018
It’s been widely reported that investigators got a break in the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case when they uploaded a DNA profile to a genealogy database, GEDmatch, and identified relatives of the suspect, Joseph DeAngelo. Did they get lucky, or did they have a good chance of finding him? UC Davis population biologists Graham Coop and M. D. “Doc” Edge have written a nice explainer of the science behind this search.

Discovering Curiosity: Learning Genetics through Family Illness with Mark Winey

May 02, 2018
Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, became fascinated by science at an early age. But the draw to biology—specifically, genetics—was prompted by Winey’s younger sister Christine, who as an infant was diagnosed with an inherited metabolic disease called galactosemia.