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Lipid Helps Cells Find Their Way By Keeping Their 'Antennae' Up

A lipid that helps lotion soften the skin also helps cells find and stay in the right location in the body by ensuring they keep their “antennae” up, scientists report. Each cell has an antenna, or cilium, that senses the environment then determines where to go and what to do when it arrives, said Dr. Erhard Bieberich, biochemist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. “A cell is blind; it does not see, it does not feel; it doesn’t know where it is,” Bieberich said. “It needs to have an organelle that senses where it is in space in order to go where it wants and needs to go.” That kind of direction helps keep brain cells, for example, from wandering off to the feet and vice versa.

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