This is a diagram of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway (click through the image for more detail), which typically gets activated when a mitogen (something that stimulates cell growth) binds its receptor (as shown in the top half of the image), but which can also be activated through other signaling pathways (as shown in the lower portion of the image). Because the MAPK/ERK pathway is involved in cell growth and proliferation, mutations in any of the pathway’s effector molecules (i.e. kinases, enzymes that add phosphate groups to other proteins) that result in constitutive activation or enhanced enzymatic activity can lead to proliferative diseases and cancers.
good things: peeling fava beans for stress relief (and dinner), strong tea from a samovar, getting my fc gamma receptor paper fake-published, reading fairy tales and magical realism, finally convincing picky adherent cells to grow in long-term suspension culture
Brass qibla compasses, used to establish the direction one should turn towards during prayers (i.e. towards Mecca), Iran, c.1800-1875 (source)
I’m getting ready to repackage lentivirus particles with some Fc gamma receptor genes, so I thawed out a vial of HEK 293T cells (kidney epithelial cells, pictured) this week. HEK 293T cells are easy to transfect (basically, to introduce “foreign” or exogenous DNA into the cell) because they’ve been modified to express a temperature sensitive version of the SV40 T antigen. This allows the cell to replicate any DNA that has the SV40 origin of replication, such as many mammalian expression plasmids, without actually integrating the DNA into the cellular genome.
These are HEC-1B cells, a sub-strain of HEC-1A cells, which were derived from a woman with late stage endometrial cancer in 1968. I’m going to start working with HEC-1A cells soon, since they apparently grow faster than T84 cells. After almost five months, we still haven’t managed to establish stably transduced cells that are 100% monoclonal for the F and V alleles of CD16 in the T84 cells, which is disheartening (but partly due to the fact that they don’t grow at low densities, which makes single cell cloning by limiting dilution basically impossible).
Y.Z. Kami, Untitled, from the Endless Prayers series, 2009 *
The works in the Endless Prayers series are described as being “made by gluing countless minute brick-shaped cut-outs from poetry and prayer texts on to the canvas in circular arrangements or according to some Islamic architectural detailing of domes. The spiraling patterns are inspired by the whirling motions in the rituals of dervishes found in the Mevlevi order of Sufism […]” (via)
Mohammad Reza Shajarian — Surah Qasas (this recitation apparently skips verses 1-4)