What a downer


By Debora MacKenzie in Brussels THE skeletons within living cells may not form properly in zero gravity, say researchers in France. This could dent human ambitions to live in space—at least without artificial gravity. Their work also proves that, contrary to received wisdom, gravity can influence chemical reactions. Most cells have cytoskeletons of microtubules, which are fibres made of the protein tubulin. James Tabony and his colleagues at the French Atomic Energy Commission lab in Grenoble found that when cold solutions of mammalian tubulin and the energy-releasing compound GTP are warmed to body temperature for six minutes,
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