Re: BOOKS The Molecular Biology Of The Cell

Jeff Davis (
Fri, 01 Oct 1999 11:09:22 -0700
Thu, 30 Sep 1999 11:03:21 -0700


>It's amazing to think of the ribosome (which translates RNA into proteins)
as a molecular
>machine with many moving parts. Probably there are other cellular
components which will turn
>out the same way. This should give additional credibility to nanotech (if
it needs any more). Our
>cells are full of tiny, active machines, not just passive chemicals that
bump together.

When we think of machines we often see gears, shafts, connecting links, piping, wires, valves, switches, etc. The molecular machine of the cell is, in contrast, a long, folded, linear array of amino acids, so its mechanistic nature is almost certainly to be of a uniquely different, and to our experience novel, character. When one moves beyond the false mental image of this "machine" as a static lump--and image fostered by the inherently static nature of pictures and other visual depictions in common use--and tries to envision the dynamic operation of this machine, a rich suite of possibilities presents itself. The configuration of the linear array is potentially immensly multivariate. It (does or can) wiggle throb, twist, stretch, and slide over itself, all the while creating highly dynamic regions adjacent to, between, and beneath the moving strands, as well around and between the larger dynamically polymorphic clumps.

I fully expect, as the truth is revealed, to be dazzeled by the fractal elegance and complexity and beauty of natures art.

Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles