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Cellular Ballrooms
Janelle Weaver
Posted July 1, 2010

Rendering of the cytoplasm model
Rendering of the cytoplasm model.
Click for larger image.

Like a tightly packed ballroom, cells contain molecules that bump into one another in cytoplasm—the fluid that fills cells. Sean McGuffee and Adrian Elcock, biochemists at the University of Iowa, have built their own cellular ballroom. They simulated what it's like for 50 types of common molecules as they randomly bounce around in the cytoplasm of bacteria. To do this, the duo built a model using three-dimensional structures of more than 1,000 molecules, including ribosomes, tRNAs and interacting proteins. The model could help scientists understand why molecules in the crowded cells of living organisms behave differently from those in a dish, where there is plenty of room to boogie.

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This page last reviewed on April 22, 2011