Laminin
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Laminin, an Important Protein that Looks Like a Cross-Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:  
The eRumor talks of a substance called "laminin" that is described as part of a family of proteins that "hold us together."  Then there is a picture of laminin---which looks like a cross.
 

The Truth:  
This story leads into complex considerations of science and biology but the main questions it prompts are whether laminin is as important as the eRumor claims and does it have a shape like a cross.

The simple answer to both questions seems to be yes. 

Laminin is defined by the Webster Medical Dictionary as a "glycoprotein that is a component of connective tissue basement membrane and that promotes cell adhesion."  In other words, looking at laminin as a kind of glue isn't far from the truth.  There are several different laminins.

In their book The Laminins authors Peter Elkblom and Rupert Timpl go into more detail about both the importance of laminins and their structure.  They describe laminins that, together with other proteins, "hold cells and tissues together."   They also say, "Electron microscopy reveals a cross-like shape for all laminins investigated so far."  They went on to say that in solution the laminin shapes were more like a flower than a cross.  The strands of laminins do not always stand straight and at right angles, but they do consists of arms, three of which are short and one of which is long.

Research has been conducted on laminins in connection with numerous conditions and diseases.  It has been found, for example, that people with congenital muscular dystrophies do not have  laminin-alpha2, which is normally found in the layer of cells around muscle fibers and other cells important to the structural integrity of muscle cells.

Updated 5/14/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want.
I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is...how He spoke the universe into being...how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) .....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking...."How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???"

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath.
And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!
It was because he started talking about laminin.
I knew about laminin. Here is how wikipedia describes them :"Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue." You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE.

But now I do. And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....
Here is what the structure of laminin looks like...AND THIS IS NOT a "Christian portrayal" of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...



Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!!
Amazing.
The glue that holds us together....ALL of us....is in the shape of the cross.
Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth , visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. "
Colossians 1:15-17

Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.
Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together...one cell to another....by the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin "glue" would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!

Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 


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