Molecular Biology

Acetyl Coenzyme A (Molecular Biology)

Acetyl coenzyme A (acetylCoA ) consists of a two-carbon activated acetyl unit attached to coenzyme A in thioester linkage. AcetylCoA is central to energy generation from the degradative pathways of oxidative fuel metabolism and to a number of biosynthetic pathways that utilize the activated two-carbon acetyl unit. In aerobic cells, it is the product of […]

Acetylcholine Receptor (Molecular Biology)

Acetylcholine (ACh) is a widely distributed neurotransmitter in both the peripheral and central nervous systems (1). It is synthesized by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase within the cholinergic nerve terminal, where it is packaged into cholinergic vesicles. Arrival of an action potential at a cholinergic nerve terminal triggers quantal release of ACh by fusion of these […]

Achaete–Scute Complex (Molecular Biology)

A central theme in developmental biology is to understand how the mechanisms that specify particular cell types integrate with those that govern where and when cell type-specific structures form during animal development. Over the better part of the past century, the development of the Drosophila nervous system has served as a model with which to […]

Achilles’ Cleavage (Molecular Biology)

Achilles’ cleavage (AC) is a procedure developed to permit cutting double-stranded DNA at a single site (the AC site) in a complex genome (Fig. 1). The AC site is first protected from methylation by a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein, and the methylated genome is subsequently cut by a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme. Other sites in the genome […]

Acridine Dyes (Molecular Biology)

Acridines are fused linear tricyclic aromatic molecules of planar geometry. Aminoacridine (Fig. 1) was originally developed as a topical antibacterial agent and is one of the most widely used and studied acridines. It is a strong base (pKa 9.9) due to the resonant amino group and is largely ionized at physiological pH. Acridines are typical […]

Acrocentric Chromosome (Molecular Biology)

An acrocentric chromosome has a single centromere that is localized at or near one end of the chromosome (acro = extremity). One of the most common forms of chromosomal translocation occurs when two acrocentric chromosomes fuse at the ends containing the centromeres (1). This is called a Robertsonian event (Fig. 1). This generally leads to […]

Acrosome (Molecular Biology)

The acrosome is an organelle of the spermatozoon that covers the apical part of the sperm head. This organelle comprises an outer acrosomal membrane, an inner acrosomal membrane, and plasma membranes. The acrosome plays an important role during the early stages of fertilization, in that the acrosome and its associated molecules mediate recognition of the […]

Actin (Molecular Biology)

Actin is one of the most ubiquitous and conserved eukaryotic proteins. While actin was originally isolated and studied as part of the contractile apparatus of muscle (see Thin Filament), we now know that actin is found in virtually all eukaryotic cells and can be the most abundant protein present. Actin forms part of the cytoskeleton […]

Actin-Binding Proteins Part 1 (Molecular Biology)

1. The Actin Microfilament System Actin was identified more than 50 years ago as an essential element of the force generating apparatus of muscle cells (1, 2). Together with myosin, tropomyosin, and a large number of other proteins, actin filaments constitute sarcomeres, which are ordered serially along contractile myofibrils (3, 4). In the mid 1960s, […]

Actin-Binding Proteins Part 2 (Molecular Biology)

2. Signal Transduction and Restructuring of the Actin Microfilament System Cell surface receptors continuously monitor the extracellular milieu and pass signals to the cytoplasm by generating second messengers of various kinds which either stimulate or inhibit the activity in the microfilament system. Addition of growth factors to serum-starved cultured cells causes the immediate outgrowth of […]