On Sunday, September 05, 1999 11:20 PM "Hal" email@example.com wrote:
> It is interesting to learn that the reason proteins are able to get
> into cells is because they are capable of unfolding. Proteins are
> long linear molecules which fold up into fuzzy balls or other shapes.
> It is when they have their folded-up configurations that they become
> biologically active. But apparently it is necessary that they unfold
> back into their linear form (or something close to it) in order to pass
> through the narrow channels through cell walls. Then the refold once
> the get to the other side.
> This might pose a problem for a nanotech device which wants to make its
> way into the cell. It will not be able to unfold and so will need to
> hack its way through the membrane somehow. Perhaps the upcoming book
> Nanomedicine will include a chapter on breaking and entering.
I see three potential solutions. One would be to have the nanotech device do some sort of contortion such as proteins to, changing shape to fit through, then changing back. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but inside most cells the contents are not just in suspension, but there are also structures and channels which guide molecules about. Inside it's not purely a diffusion-reaction area, right?)
Another is to have the nanotech device, as Hal puts is, hack it's way through, most like repairing what damage its done (or having another device do the repairs) after it's inside. Of course, there might be areas to break into which are easier to pass through or that repair themselves...
Still another solution might be to create a nanotech "gate" ("nanogate"?) which will allow nanotech devices to pass into and out of cells. (Of course, then we have the problem of how to create such and for some applications such gates would be overdoing it.)
Hope all of you in the States are having a fine holiday!