Thin, hair-like biological structures called cilia are tiny but mighty. Notice how they beat in synchronized, self-organized motion like an audience doing "the wave." Working together, cilia play essential roles in human health, such as sweeping debris from the lungs. But scientists haven't cracked the mechanism controlling how the structures beat in unison. Now researchers have created the first-ever artificial cilia using motor proteins, structural parts and a bundling compound. The models, which synchronize spontaneously, offer a new approach for studying cilia and other self-organizing processes. Video courtesy of Zvonimir Dogic. Read more...
Featured in the August 18, 2011, issue of Biomedical Beat.
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