Science & Faith
2/21/13 at 05:52 PM 0 Comments

High Tech Highway Systems in the Cell and Maybe in the Netherlands

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This is a road test. Read the two quotations below in order to compare the one that refers to expected 2014 prototype human transportation technology with the one that describes transportation in the nanotechnological world of the living cell. You will better appreciate intelligent design in both worlds.

Wikipedia: GNU Free Documentation License

With prototypes set to hit the pavement in the Netherlands next year, these interactive interventions take innovation back from a focus on the car and put it right on the road. Examples include ... temperature- and moisture-sensitive weather- and road-condition displays with color-changing paint to warn of icing, and even dedicated induction-priority lanes to magnetically recharge electric cars. ... While we may eventually see a future where cars drive themselves, for now we live in a world where high speeds bring real dangers, and invention has not matched the acceleration of actual drivers. Time and experiments will tell how well these ideas actually work when applied to asphalt. [source]

Compare that quotation with this one below about the high tech highway system of the living cell (which is known to work very well). I have inserted some comparative explanatory terms in brackets.

Intracellular transport plays an essential role in maintaining the organization of polarized cells. Motor proteins tether [grab hold of] and move cargos [products made in certain parts of the cell] along microtubules [highways] during long-range transport to deliver them to their proper location of function. To reach their destination, cargo-bound motors [life-critical products carried by motors] must overcome barriers to their forward motion such as intersection points between microtubules [similar to intersections of two or more roads at which traffic lights operate]. The ability to visualize [like those cameras that photopraph you running a red light and then send you a ticket in the mail] how motors navigate these barriers can give important information about the mechanisms that lead to efficient transport [like the computer controlled Los Angeles traffic light system that makes traffic flow more efficiently]. Here, we [the scientists running this investigation] first develop an all-optical correlative imaging method based on single-particle tracking and superresolution microscopy to map the transport trajectories of cargos to individual microtubules [highways] with high spatiotemporal resolution [that tracks when and where objects are being transported]. We then use this method to study the behavior of lysosomes at microtubule–microtubule intersections [like human roadway intersections]. Our results show that the intersection poses a significant hindrance that leads to long pauses in transport only when the separation distance of the intersecting microtubules is smaller than ∼100 nm. However, the obstructions are typically overcome by the motors with high fidelity by either switching to the intersecting microtubule or eventually passing through the intersection. Interestingly, there is a large tendency to maintain the polarity of motion (anterograde or retrograde) after the intersection, suggesting a high degree of regulation of motor activity to maintain transport in a given direction. These results give insights into the effect of the cytoskeletal geometry [structural components within the cell that help maintain its shape] on cargo transport and have important implications for the mechanisms that cargo-bound motors use to maneuver through the obstructions set up by the complex cytoskeletal network. [source]

In short, think of the living cell as a miniature Los Angeles, with multiple integrated transportation systems and other life-critical systems.

LA's Traffic Signal Timing and Coordination Center

Very recent discoveries have also informed us about the following cellular nanotechnologies that massively expand the cell-LA comparison I've identified for you:

Wikimedia Commons
Scientists are opening up the cell and finding far more complicated systems of information processing than we find in the iPhone.
  • Librarians: A system for accessing genetic information in DNA.
  • Electricians: Mechanisms for regulating information flow throughout the nervous systems.
  • Electronic gatekeepers: A system that regulates what enters and leaves the nucleus, which is the cell's central genetic library (and more).
  • Locksmiths: Mechanisms for genetic material distribution during cell division that inlude "molecular padlocks" that guide the DNA packaging process.
  • Multitasking translator: Ribosomes in cells do more than assemble proteins. New research "reveals that the ribosome is not just an automatic molecular machine but instead also acts as a translational regulator."
  • Watchmakers: Cells construct for themselves molecular clocks that govern the timing of certain life-critical activity.

Go here to examine fuller descriptions of all these integrated cellcular subsystems. You will also find there weblinks to the primary scientific literature that describes and documents the details of these molecular machines. Such cellular subsystems have all the marks of having been intelligently designed for the multi-leveled purposes of biological life. Maybe the cell looks designed because it actually is.

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