DATABASE: Journey to the Cell's Core

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Science  01 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5693, pp. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5693.25b

The cell's nucleus is more than just a hangout for DNA. Swarms of proteins congregate there as well, duplicating DNA, bundling it into chromosomes, and performing numerous other jobs. Track down information on these molecules at the Nuclear Protein Database from the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, U.K. Pick one of the more than 1200 human and mouse proteins found in the nucleus, and you'll discover links to sequence data and PubMed abstracts on its function and location. But the highlight of the site is the backgrounders that describe the proteins housed in different parts of the nucleus. For example, you can peek into the nuclear splicing speckles, which stow proteins that edit newborn RNA strands.

That the nucleus bustles with activity shows through in the dozens of movies you can screen at, a portal created by Michael Hendzel of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleague David Pulak. Watch the tiny fibers called microtubules nudging the nucleus around, or catch the chromosomes “decondensing” after cell division. Visitors can also bone up on lab protocols, learn which antibodies work best for visualizing the nuclear goings-on, or study a wealth of tutorials.

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