Monday, 12 December 2016

Superfast Machine Production: 100,000 Nanomachines Per Hour in Our Cells

Image courtesy of LadyofHats, public domain.

Joel Kontinen

Recent research has likened our cells to miniature cities running at 100 per cent efficiency.”

These cities and everything in them – including the tiny molecular motors dynein and kinesin – are assembled very fast.

A new study looks at ribosomes, which are amazing macromolecular machines. They, too, are built quickly from parts.

An article in Science Daily states:

Consisting of RNA and proteins that twist, fold and turn [they] are responsible for making all of the protein within a cell and could hold the key to deciphering a range of diseases. Despite the intricacies of ribosomes, cells are able to churn out 100,000 of them every hour.”

Obviously, the parts are programmed to come together, otherwise the result would be a chaos.

Recently researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Scripps Research Institute used an imaging technique called single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to look into the secrets of how ribosomes are being built:

In single-particle cryo-EM, proteins (the "particles") are flash-frozen and imaged using streams of electrons, meaning the molecules don't need to be crystallized and can retain much of their native structure.”

The research focused on the 50s subunit (a major component of ribosomes) and found that it was made up of “at least 15 types of complexes …13 of which are actively assembling 50s subunits.”

It took the scientists a year to figure this out.

No wonder integrated complex systems in cells are called supercomplexes.

They are the hallmark of exceptionally intelligent design.


Salk Institute.2016. Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble. Science Daily (1 December).