A new tool for researching neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's takes its inspiration from the antennae of the male silk moth (Image: University of Michigan)
Molecules are drawn through the nanopore, via the fluid lipid bilayer (Image: University of Michigan)
In order to detect the presence of nearby females, the male silk moth utilizes an oily coating on his antennae. Any female pheromone molecules that are in the air will stick to that coating, which then guides them through nanotunnels in the insect's exoskeleton, and ultimately to nerve cells that alert Mr. Moth to the fact that there are ladies in the area. It's a clever enough system that scientists from the University of Michigan have copied it, in hopes of better understanding neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
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