Kids: Definitions


endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - a cell organelle that is made up of complex membrane tubules.

lysosomes - a cell organelle that serves as recycling and disposal center for the cell.

nmeters - one billionth of a meter.

genomic clone - a copy of the DNA that is the code for a particular protein.

cryo-electron microscopy - a method of looking at objects in the microscope that are quick frozen in a special ice that doesn't have crystals. The objects are seen in a natural state and in every orientation in three dimensional space.

ribosomes - a large cell particle that carries out the production of proteins.

negative staining - a method of preparation of samples for electron microscopy that reveals the structure of an object by pouring stain over it. With this method, the purified vault particle is covered with a stain that surrounds it and settles in surface depressions to reveal its unusual outline and contours. For example, if there was an invisible soccor ball, you could veveal its structure by throwing black paint over it. The paint would settle around the ball, defining the shape of the object and settle in the depressions of the ball revealing the pattern in the balls cover.

nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) - are very large structures that are found in the membrane that surrounds the cell nucleus. A plug is often found within the center of the nuclear pore complex. NPCs have been estimated to contain over a hundred individual components, however, only a handful of these components have been studied in detail.

Electron Microscope (EM) - a microscope that allows viewing of very small objects (in the nanometer size range).

SDS-PAGE - A method of separating proteins that uses an electric field to filter the proteins through the tiny pores of a plastic gel called polyacrylamide. The process is carried out in a detergent called sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS).

protein - a class of biological compounds that is composed of amino acids. The blueprint for assembly of a protein is a gene.

amino acid - building blocks of larger molecules called proteins. The amino acids are arranged like beads on a string. There are 21 common amino acids in proteins.

sequence - in biology sequence refers to the precise order of component parts. Protein sequence is the order of amino acids in the protein. RNA sequence is the order of RNA building blocks called ribonucleic acids. DNA (or gene) sequence is the order of deoxyribonucleic acids in a strand of DNA (or a gene).

gene - a section of DNA that contains the sequence of nucleic acids that codes for a specific protein.

RNA - stands for ribonucleic acid. RNAs are a class of biological compounds that are similar to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids).

vaulted ceilings - the arches inside gothic cathedrals are refered to as vaulted. For example see the image to the right of the vaulted ceiling.

Dictyostelium - Dictyostelium discoideum is a cellular slime mold studied because of it's unique life cycle and the ability to manipulate it genetically.

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