Proteins let cells keep in mind how effectively their final division went

Image of a stopwatch against a blue-grey background.

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After we speak about recollections in biology, we are likely to give attention to the mind and the storage of data in neurons. However there are many different recollections that persist inside our cells. Cells keep in mind their developmental historical past, whether or not they’ve been uncovered to pathogens, and so forth. And that raises a query that has been difficult to reply: How does one thing as elementary as a cell maintain on to data throughout a number of divisions?

There isn’t any one reply, and the small print are actually troublesome to work out in lots of circumstances. However scientists have now labored out one reminiscence system intimately. Cells are capable of keep in mind when their dad or mum had a troublesome time dividing—an issue that is typically related to DNA harm and most cancers. And, if the issues are substantial sufficient, the 2 cells that consequence from a division will cease dividing themselves.

Setting a timer

In multicellular organisms, cell division could be very fastidiously regulated. Uncontrolled division is the hallmark of cancers. However issues with the person segments of division—issues like copying DNA, repairing any harm, ensuring every daughter cell will get the appropriate variety of chromosomes—can result in mutations. So, the cell division course of consists of a lot of checkpoints the place the cell makes positive the whole lot has labored correctly.

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