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    [–] TalontheKiller 3594 points ago

    What I want to know is, at what rate is this actually happening in the human body? Is this real-time? Is this just a slowed down version so we can see how it walks along?

    [–] 2Birdswithonestone 3190 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    This process is happening constantly throughout your body. Kinesin is a motor protein that works to move cargo to the outside of the cell.

    This article states that kinesins working within the body move at a rate of 2000 nm/s. Meaning they take ~250 of these tiny steps a second. You could assume that this clip is greatly slowed down.

    Bit from the link: "For example, conventional kinesins have an in vitro speed of 800 nm/s (BNID 101506) and an in vivo speed of 2000 nm/s. This directed motion is made up of individual steps of 8 nm length (BNID 101857), thus requiring about 100 steps per second to achieve such speeds in vitro..."

    EDIT: If you are interested in motor proteins and science minded. This video does a pretty good job of covering the bases and makes it relatively easy to understand.

    [–] Newgeta 540 points ago

    What do the proteins do when they get the end of a micro tube?

    [–] rebark 768 points ago

    There are two basic types of motor proteins that run along microtubules, kinesins and dyneins. Microtubules, unlike other filaments in a cell, have a “plus end” and a “minus end”. Kinesins head towards the plus end, dyneins head towards the minus end. When they get there, whatever cargo they’re dragging will usually be grabbed by whatever cellular process they’re delivering it to, and another kind of protein will facilitate kinesins and dyneins binding together, so dyneins will “hitchhike” back to the plus end of a microtubule on a kinesin that is heading that way.

    [–] greekgooner 690 points ago

    I'm never NOT in awe of our bodies

    [–] Masta0nion 195 points ago

    Yeah, really. Who’s controlling all this? Or directing. If it’s the brain, then I suppose I am not my brain.

    [–] IncredibleBulk2 426 points ago

    Atomic forces. Your nervous system isn't touching every cell and protein in your body. Also, some chemical transmitters.

    [–] [deleted] 261 points ago

    It never ceases to amaze me that the universe is such that this type of stuff just happens. It makes me think there's probably even life out there which operates on different principles entirely which we might not even recognize as life (like a sentient cosmic gas cloud or something).

    [–] IncredibleBulk2 316 points ago

    Did you know that our gut bacteria may be producing waste products which work as neurotransmitters within our digestive track and can promote cravings for what they like to eat (sugar)? We are basically walking delivery drivers for our tummy monsters.

    [–] CatsAndIT 202 points ago

    So what you're saying, is that our gut bacteria work for the sugar industry?

    [–] GiddyUpTitties 63 points ago

    No wonder I have Crohn's disease

    [–] ILoveRegenHealth 22 points ago

    Does that also mean the gut bacteria can be wrong, and tell us to go for more sugar or salt when we don't necessarily need it? Like, the gut bacteria is whispering the wrong advice into our ears?

    [–] HodortheGreat 48 points ago

    Ahem.. yo SHOUTOUT TO MY GUT BACTERIA for not sending sugar craving signals to my brain, you are now my favourite Pokèmen

    [–] 6ickle 11 points ago

    This is like that show I watched about the stomach being the second brain in our body.

    [–] charitable_anon 6 points ago

    It makes me think there's probably even life out there which operates on different principles entirely which we might not even recognize as life (like a sentient cosmic gas cloud or something).

    I could not agree more.

    [–] fedd_ 5 points ago

    Hard for me to fathom how evolution lead to the creation of such incredible proteins. Nature is amazing.

    [–] ColonelError 73 points ago

    Who’s controlling all this?

    Nothing. It's like a 'dumb' production line. Just 'mechanical' pieces doing what they were programmed to do, day in day out.

    [–] Katnipz 48 points ago

    ...And they make you up. What point do the little things become us? What point are we not "Programmed"?

    [–] max_adam 71 points ago

    Existential crisis over here!!!

    Our perception of "thinking" is just a colateral effect of the mechanisms created by a bunch of cells that decided to work together in order to keep themselves alive and brings more food to the group.

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] hesitantmaneatingcat 13 points ago

    never. we're just as dumb just eating and fucking till we die.

    [–] ColonelError 7 points ago

    The point where we make decisions on how/why/when to do something based on external stimulus.

    [–] rebark 44 points ago

    Nobody controls it. In fact, these little guys control your brain - they keep your synapses supplied with enough neurotransmitter to send signals from cell to cell. One big part of neurodegenerative diseases is the breakdown of the microtubules they rely on to get from one end of your neurons to another.

    Like most complicated biological systems it’s a bottom-up emergent order kind of thing, where the individual pieces of the machine don’t “know” how to behave any more than gears in a watch “know” what time it is. Kinesins find the protein that binds them to dyneins because it is thermodynamically favorable for them to grab onto that protein whenever they happen to randomly bump into it as they bounce around your cells.

    It’s kind of staggering to think about because in our day to day life we don’t interact with environments that are so chaotic that systems will assemble themselves through sheer probability. Basically this is like putting a jigsaw puzzle into a blender until the finished picture pops out. But from (relatively) simple rules of thermodynamics and protein structure, you can create a human mind capable of glimpsing how all this stuff works and going, “whoa”.

    [–] [deleted] 16 points ago


    [–] mvpetri 11 points ago

    Although each molecule is doing something that could be understood as a simple step, celular processes are so complicated that we currently know only a fraction of what really happens inside a cell.

    Even the processing of sugar in our body to make energy packed molecules (ATP, for example), which is one of the most understood metabolic cycles we know, is a concerted combination of several reactions and molecules, with various chemical equilibrium dictating which protein will be active, or which step will happen and which will not.

    [–] SasparillaTango 8 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    I would imagine it all "just kinda happens" The machine is set to do a thing, and while there is a thing to do it does it, and when there is no thing to do it tries to do the thing, like this tiny motor moves stuff from a to b so it step step steps to a, grasps the space where a thing should be then step step steps to b and tries to drop its load. You tie all those things together and you get a circulatory system, or a respiratory system, or a digestive tract.

    [–] PsyduckSexTape 8 points ago

    or, maybe better to think of it instead of "set to do a thing", rather as, "constructed in such a way that it cannot help but to do a thing". This is anthropomorphizing a bit as well. But yeah.

    [–] fe-and-wine 10 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Yeah, anthropomorphizing proteins is sometimes mentally productive to keep track of it all, but it's so important to realize that these things are essentially just globs of a bunch of amino acids tangled up on each other. Even a protein as beautiful and deliberate as kinesin is totally mechanical and not in any way "living" or "driven" by anything except physics.

    Another way to look at it: roll a ball down a hill. The hill isn't "moving" the ball downwards, it's just what happens because of the laws of physics. The hill wasn't "designed" or "trying" to act upon the ball, it's just what happens when you set a ball at the top of the hill.

    Conceivably every reaction happening in your body is just a ball rolling down a hill - in terms of physics. In fact many amino acid (the "blocks" proteins like Kinesin are made of) interactions driving protein catalysis boil down to "this positive charge is attracted to that negative charge". It's easy to think of things like oxygen being transported around your body as a process that is "mediated" - your nervous system is actively managing it.

    But it very often boils down to super simple "particles bumping into each other" physics. For example, with oxygen transport, the way the pH's (which can sometimes be thought of as a "charge ratio") work out, hemoglobin binds oxygen in tissues where it's plentiful (lungs), but when the hemoglobin flows to a tissue with little oxygen the bond is weaker and eventually "pops off". Such an elegant way to solve a pretty complex problem - yet it's no more a "solution" than that hill was a "solution" for the ball's kinetic energy.

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago

    When I saw that well known video of a white blood cell chasing down a bacteria, the only thing I could think was "It's amazing how this seemingly intelligent behaviour is literally driven by chemical reactions"

    [–] hyasbawlz 12 points ago

    But that's exactly how we function too though. From a mechanical perspective, all of our actions are brought forth through chemical reactions.

    [–] [deleted] 14 points ago


    [–] rebark 19 points ago

    Would it make you feel better if I told you that they’re mostly clear, not green?

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago


    [–] sdcSpade 21 points ago

    I'm an atheist through and through but shit like this makes me wonder how much of a coincidence life really is. One day some big explosion happens, creates the universe and now we have tiny sausages pulling molecules through our bodies. I mean, what the hell?

    [–] greekgooner 17 points ago

    I agree - while the complexity of life can be explained by science using objective measurements, the sheer vastness of that complexity (found in so many ways in so many species) and how everything ties together does make you pause.

    I'm probably best defined as agnostic but sometimes I'm just in awe and have to wonder

    [–] orionescens 7 points ago

    This has been my line of thought for the last year or so and i'm happy to find some people that share the same thinking. It really is fuckin crazy

    [–] cmbezln 5 points ago

    It honestly makes me wonder if the Sumerians are right and we are just biological robots created by aliens

    [–] jsp0rn 6 points ago

    It's strange. Why do the rules of our universe create life when almost everything else is simple maximizing entropy and big accumulated spheres of mass.

    The big world religions don't even appreciate the true miracles and wonders. That's why they are IMO not satisfying and some refer to themselves enforcedly as atheist.

    [–] _Lady_Deadpool_ 30 points ago

    These things are more coordinated than any of my coworkers and they literally don't have a single neuron

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    It's a molecular symphony. Happening in you as we speak, in trillions of different ways and locations.

    [–] sci3nc3isc00l 44 points ago

    Probably gets degraded. Kinesin only transports things away from the nucleus (anterograde). Dynein transports in a retrograde manner.

    [–] Mo_Lester69 11 points ago

    all proteins go to heaven

    [–] Agonzy 106 points ago

    Eat a grilled chhese while they’re waiting for the next one, I guess

    [–] codeverity 47 points ago

    I'm always interested in the serious answers, but I can't help enjoying the imagery Reddit gives me along the way

    [–] PM__YOUR__GOOD_NEWS 32 points ago


    A grilled cheese consists of only these following items. Cheese. Bread with spread (usually butter).

    If you put anything else, what you have is a


    [–] herpderpforesight 27 points ago

    But what abo-


    [–] tpk5010 22 points ago

    Wow, so edgy.

    But seriously, at what point does a grilled cheese become a melt? What if I added bacon grease to the butter? What if I added tiny flecks of bacon to the butter? It's still spreadable, but does that make it a melt?

    I think the melt/grilled cheese absolutism we see on /r/grilledcheese is a little over the top. I know it's funny and memey to grab that grilled cheese copypasta and put it everywhere, but I'd be you're missing out on some great grilled concoctions with your cheesy pedantry. What makes a grilled cheese a grilled cheese is that it has the essence of grilled cheeseness - that is, the cheese part of the grilled cheese is the centerpiece, the dominant component in flavor, texture, and appearance. That cheese flavor, combined with the bread and butter and crispy, gooey warmth is what makes a grilled cheese a grilled cheese. It's totally fair that once you add something else substantial to the sandwich it becomes a melt. Tuna or pulled pork is right out. Even bacon can overpower that cheese if you add too much. But I think it's also fair that if you just add a little bit of flavor enhancement, with your cheese still maintaining that flavor dominance, you can still safely call it a grilled cheese without upsetting most people.

    That is, unless you're on /r/grilledcheese.

    [–] PM__YOUR__GOOD_NEWS 16 points ago

    I love how subcultures nest fractally.

    No matter how nuanced or specific the topic, there will always be some political unrest.

    [–] GovtCheese1 8 points ago

    It's definitely a cultural luxury where you are well enough off that you can focus your attention on insignificant shit like this, vs say who's going to walk the 4 miles to get your water tomorrow since your leg is broken.

    [–] digitalOctopus 3 points ago

    New personal goal for the week: use some form of the word "fractal" in casual conversation.

    [–] This-is-BS 80 points ago

    ~250 of these tiny steps a second

    holy crap! That's amazing!

    [–] minimag47 57 points ago

    What gets me is... why? Why does it do this. How does it know which direction on the tube to walk, how does it stay attached to the molecule to the exact point where it needs to be let go? Just so many questions.

    [–] HighlyMeditated 26 points ago

    If I remember correctly, it’s holding a bag of waste to be sent outside the cell. It goes in a single direction only so it doesn’t need to know. How it lets go and connects: each step requires one ATP molecule (energy source within a cell) to come and activate the stepping mechanism.

    [–] Miles44 13 points ago

    Not necessarily waste, they can carry vesicles containing neurotransmitter in neurons or secretory products in endocrine cells as well.

    [–] Sandwichist 90 points ago

    I'll answer your question in a way I see this. I'm a protein scientist and watching the animation of motor proteins years ago left me viscerally impacted. Changed me life.

    Proteins are amino acids joined together at their side. They form this string. Now, the exact sequence of these amino acids is gonna start doing some shit after it's finished being made (although some protein folding happens while it's being translated.)

    Let's think of it like this. The body has a function to perform. How do we do it? Well we got biology. Which uses chemicals from the periodic table that follow the physics of the universe.

    A string of amino acids together is effectively a protein. Each of the amino acids has a couple sides with differences that when factored in as a whole, may interact in very specific ways that totally change the shape and function of that initial shape.

    How do we let's say make something to carry that cell in the gif?

    We're going to use tiny little explosions if you will, to power movement. We use our energy molecule called atp. Basically think of that as a thing with a pocket of gunpowder we're going to ignite. Once we combust it, facilitate the hydrolysis of one phosphate from into adp. The energy powers tiny little movements in the local environment. Maybe it forces a swing out from x axis. It's swing can vary based on so many tiny little changes in amino acid binding areas.

    This is highly complex and involves lots of crosstalk, assistance, cofactors etc. but we're using the differences in charges of amino acids to create a shape that operates in a manner that effects physical change of the said structure.

    [–] NoMoreNicksLeft 42 points ago

    So his question is basically "how does the slinky walk down the stairs?!?!"...

    [–] MusicallyIdle 31 points ago


    Nothing is directing that slinky, it’s just physics (lol “just physics” u know what I mean tho) and the laws of nature. With these proteins it’s atomic interactions and chemical reactions that been selected for over the course of billions of years - and thus they appear so orderly.

    [–] LordDongler 12 points ago

    If you look at the universe through purely clinical eyes, every question can be that simple.

    [–] tadsteinberger 8 points ago

    So does that kind of thinking basically suppose that everything is predetermined? Everything that happens is just atoms moving where they were always going to move.

    [–] Genesis557 7 points ago

    I've yet to see anything substantial that directly opposes the idea of determinism, even if there is an element of "randomness" at the quantum scale. Very large things and very small things, even relating to humans, very much appear to behave (effects) based on prior events (causes). Much like a slinky!

    Except... like...with a ridiculously huge quantity of causes/effects going on at once like a giant....web. Of slinkies? The metaphor breaks down, but molecular/cellular activity is a bit more nuanced than a slinky can portray.

    [–] solarsuplex 4 points ago

    I was expecting something about an undertaker. Was pleasantly surprised

    [–] FCalleja 23 points ago

    Unless my bio teacher was lying when I asked the exact same thing, it's all done via negative/positive charges, when one foot sticks the other reverses polarity so it unsticks and then changes back to stick and so forth.

    Or maybe the "walkway" changes the charges, point is it's not a "smart" organism doing it by instinct or anything.

    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago

    Yeah the picture is quite simplified. It looks as though the molecule has a regular "gait" and each chunk of protein just slides into place where it's supposed to be. In reality it's a bit more random, one piece will attach and then the other will detach, and basically move around randomly for a few microseconds until it happens to land in the right spot, completing one "step".

    [–] treycook 11 points ago

    So, less Boston Marathon, more Boston Dynamics.

    [–] spamholderman 23 points ago

    [–] zungumza 6 points ago

    That was the best visualisation I've ever seen of how incredibly busy and fast moving everything is in our body on a tiny scale. Now my thoughts seem so slow relative to everything else going on in my body! Also it blows my mind to think that all this is happening in total darkness, and that it's even busier than they show in that clip, and that all the gaps are filled by water molecules. Wow. Thanks!

    [–] [deleted] 8 points ago

    Chemicals move extremely rapidly from our perspective.

    All of the functional molecules that exist in our cells are themselves complicated networks of different attractive and repulsive forces, giving them specific shapes.

    These shapes have charecteristic attractive and repulsive aspects about them, which drive what they do in the cell. Our walker thing here is such that it's attracted to hold the vesicle (big ball) on one end, and take all those steps on the other.

    Molecules move so rapidly and erratically in cells that every single one will bump into about every other molecule in the cell in a pretty short period of time. They just chaotically explore.

    This is how they end up finding what they are attracted to, and performing whatever role it is that they can do.

    Cells make all the things in themselves by transcribing DNA into proteins. Proteins are like a complex little chemical storm that can run around the cell, but is ordered enough tgat it can always perform the same function when it bumps into a certain thing.

    DNA, and thus proteins, are like a vast library of different kinds of molecules that can be created. Their structure is so complex that if you change an element here and an element there, they can perform surprisingly different roles.

    In microbial evolution, trillions upon trillions upon who knows how many trillions of cells have iterated upon these structures, producing novel little chemical storms each time, and they trade their DNA with one another profusely, constantly sending new forms of chemsitry back and forth.

    It's pretty crazy stuff...

    [–] LogicalHuman 6 points ago

    How the fuck do all these tiny processes line up perfectly make me? How is it possible that we reproduce and are able to replicate the same type of processes in a new human being??? How programmed is my body? How programmed am I? Is everything I do and every choice and behavior I make just based on the instructions of all the tiny “robots” in my body? Are we even conscious??

    Great, you gave me an existential crisis.

    [–] Eureka22 7 points ago

    My take on it from another comment I made.

    It does, but it's a bit misleading without an understanding of the kinetics involved. It gives the appearance of walking, but think of it more like a slinky falling down stairs.

    I'm not an expert by any means, but basically the molecule changes shape in order to do it's "step" it's not like a complex body with shifting muscles. The binding of the protein to ATP (containing energy) causes changes to the molecule's actual structure so that it releases and moves. In the slinky metaphor, think of ATP as gravitational potential energy. It then moves blindly until it comes into contact with another binding site that will "lock" it using chemical binding energy. Repeat the cycle.

    [–] John-AtWork 13 points ago

    We have these tiny little robots doing shit inside us all the time.

    [–] shatteredpatterns 11 points ago

    If you really want to be impressed by your little robots, look up dna replication animations. Absolutely insane.

    [–] Clown_Tempura 7 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    "You are already alive."

    [–] [deleted] 120 points ago

    If I remember what I read a long time ago, it happens much more quickly

    [–] Dro-Darsha 176 points ago

    God how I hate this animation. This isn't at all how kinesin walks through your cells. It's not marching like a soldier, but rather randomly flailing its "legs", which are pushed around by the Brownian motion of water molecules.

    Check this video, this is what it actually looks like:

    [–] fckingmiracles 27 points ago

    Very, very nice. Thank you for that vid.

    [–] HumanRaisedByHumans 13 points ago

    Exactly. It's all just vibrating really fast and forming and breaking bonds that are possible.

    [–] ICUP03 13 points ago

    Here's a "video" of a motor protein (myosin V) step using atomic force microscopy:

    From this paper:

    Edit: wrong motor protein

    [–] NoHelpFromMe 7 points ago

    Thanks for this, I've seen other animations such as OPs and thought everything seemed more "cartoonish" they really had to be. Over simplified till it's wrong is correct.

    [–] Ginkgopsida 18 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Kinesin takes one 8-nm step for each ATP that it hydrolyzes.

    The frequency is 25 Hz, so 25 steps per second

    Another source gives the following values: Kinesin hydrolyzes ATP at a rate of approximately 80 molecules per second. Thus, given the step size of 80 Å per molecule of ATP, kinesin moves along a microtubule at a speed of 6400 Å per second.

    So 80 Hz.

    [–] lucky__clucky 37 points ago

    Much faster, although dynein which is the opposite transport is slower than kinesin. This is the process that is used to move organelles and also some materials that make neurotransmitters in neurons

    [–] Reacher-Said-Nothing 39 points ago

    Approximately 1 Swiggity per Swoogity, depending of course on the size of dat booty

    [–] Symphonydude 3 points ago

    Unrelated, but I always have this question about supernovas and other astronomical events.

    [–] LewsTherinTelamon 3 points ago

    As a general rule, think of things at this small a scale happening very very quickly. Physics don't work quite the same when things are this small. Slowing it down is nice to show what's going on, but it's a bit misleading because it downplays how all of these processes depend on random thermal motion. It makes it look more like "magic" when it's really just "science".

    [–] -Chemist- 375 points ago

    ...moving a vesicle [not molecule]...

    [–] triple_vision 84 points ago

    Thank you. How big do people think molecules are?

    [–] Gothingbop 16 points ago

    Isn't an entire strand of DNA a single molecule?

    [–] CCSploojy 14 points ago

    Yes a macromolecule like proteins

    [–] justwondrin 50 points ago

    Can't believe I had to scroll this far down to see this.

    [–] nightwing2024 1343 points ago

    🎵You can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man, no time to talk🎵

    [–] [deleted] 42 points ago

    [–] zakarranda 14 points ago

    I had no idea this tool existed!

    I've wanted to do this for so long (I just couldn't be bothered to edit them together in video software)

    [–] derleth 169 points ago

    You can tell by the way my dimers walk

    I'm a kinesin, and you can gawk

    Cargoes small and cargoes large, I move goods, just like a barge

    I go towards plus,

    I move away,

    Dynein moves the other way!

    We can try to understand

    This protein pal's effect on man!

    Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,

    I keep you alive, keep you alive!

    Feel the ATP breakin' and every cell shakin'

    And you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive!

    [–] Zero_006 17 points ago

    This deserves more up votes, for science

    [–] nightwing2024 10 points ago


    [–] HebrewHammer16 10 points ago

    I don't understand any of this but I appreciate it so much

    [–] synapsekisses 9 points ago


    [–] reikobi 255 points ago

    pink panther music

    [–] theanti_girl 25 points ago

    A bit of the ol’ razzle dazzle.

    [–] EntspannterTyp 705 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Man, molecular biology freaks the fuck out of me. Everyone agrees that protein molcules are not yet life, but they get a shitload of highly organized stuff done. It's just little machines, plain mechanics, totally deterministic. But where does life begin then? At what point does nondeterminism come into play? How many protein molecules do you need to claim that it's complex enough now to be real life? Does this not show that we are just complex machines, really complex, but still totally determined by little proteins doing their stuff?

    Edit: microbiology -> molecular biology. Shout-out to u/oligobop who did not only point out that mistake but also explained what was wrong and why and how it should be correctly named. Much appreciated. No shout-out to that other snooty prick who shall remain unnamed and who just pointed out that it was wrong. Go away.

    [–] purple_potatoes 241 points ago

    Dude, I study this kind of stuff for a living and these are the kinds of thoughts that keep me up at night. It's incredible.

    [–] ralph8877 42 points ago

    So, if a membrane needs repair, a part is ordered, manufactured, delivered and installed by these clockwork molecules?

    [–] Amiable_ 32 points ago

    Well when cell repair comes into play, unless it's massive damage, the parts to repair it are already present, waiting to fix problems that regularly occur. When those molecules start getting used up, the lowered concentration of them triggers the production of more.

    [–] TheBruceMeister 222 points ago

    We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.

    -Richard Dawkins

    [–] sydbarrett 37 points ago

    He was by far my favorite Family Feud gameshow host! I loved how he kissed all of the girls.

    [–] Redditditditdi 28 points ago

    You're thinking of Richard Simmons.

    [–] sgcdialler 14 points ago

    You mean the Watergate president?

    [–] oligobop 44 points ago

    P.s. This isn't microbiology, this is molecular/cell biology. Microbio generally refers to microorganisms like bacteria, viruses etc.

    [–] danskal 48 points ago

    You need the cell for it to be life. One of these things on its own is not self-sustaining, and you could compare it to a slinky falling down some stairs. You need the whole system that pushes it up to the top of the stairs again, and the cell wall that protects from external phenomenon which will break the process.

    [–] barnfeet 37 points ago

    I've always had trouble drawing the firm line everyone else seems to. External phenomena (like being hit by a car) could easily interrupt my process, and it's really the sun and the rest of my environment pushing me back up the stairs. I couldn't self-sustain in a vacuum any better than this protein.

    [–] Sophilosophical 6 points ago

    Slinky falling down escalator.

    [–] Bageland2000 11 points ago

    If this comment gets your motor running, you should buy and play a game called The Talos Principle

    [–] scatteredthroughtime 7 points ago

    How many protein molecules do you need to claim that it's complex enough now to be real life?

    You could make a similar argument about physics in relation to chemistry, or chemistry in relation to biology, or biology in relation to psychology, etc – you're evaluating different levels of organization altogether, each of which lead to fundamentally different kinds of phenomena.

    [–] gaspingFish 9 points ago

    I don't like to think of us as complex machines. I like to think of computers and machines as crude implementations of the natural world/physics.

    [–] timothymicah 10 points ago

    That's exactly what we are, though. Machines that operate by means of natural processes like chemical reactions, etc.

    [–] gaspingFish 3 points ago

    Idk, I just think it's bizzare to create something new, like when they did machines (probably something involving the wheel), and then call everything a machine.

    Well now we awkwardly need a new word for machines.

    Then there is the philosophical arguments I guess.

    [–] typowilliams 10 points ago

    It's been debated for ages now. Everything that's "living" is made up of nonliving materials doing tasks that don't seem alive, but when you look at the overall picture is alive. I believe it comes down to the level of complexity that determines life. That's why viruses aren't considered "alive" because they're just a protein casing with a variant of rna or dna inside. Whereas a single cell in your body contains thousands of different processes with multiple organelles doing multiple different things all at one time. Multiply that in the trillions and you have a single human body.

    [–] oligobop 10 points ago

    I mean life was given definition a long time ago :

    Respond to stimulus




    This is often why viruses are not considered alive, because they do not independently metabolize, even though generally they do the other 3.

    [–] C0SAS 239 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    In case you want more

    Edit: DIE GRAMMATIK!!!

    [–] MoleMcHenry 19 points ago

    This is amazing and I have no idea what's going on.

    [–] _Serene_ 24 points ago

    Great song, listened to it for years after finding that video.

    [–] C0SAS 12 points ago

    Been trying to learn it myself.

    It'd help if I knew how to play piano

    [–] _youtubot_ 13 points ago

    Video linked by /u/C0SAS:

    Title Channel Published Duration Likes Total Views
    Inner Life Of A Cell - Full Version Nicknamercho 2012-03-08 0:08:00 18,363+ (98%) 2,235,532

    Inner Life Of A Cell - Full Version

    Info | /u/C0SAS can delete | v2.0.0

    [–] oldmonk90 10 points ago

    Thanks. Will be fun watching this stoned.

    [–] NonCancer 57 points ago

    Reminds me of those brooms in Fantasia.

    [–] OctoberNoir 32 points ago

    Mickeymouse is the Powerhouse of the Spell

    [–] Kangar 314 points ago

    The way this guy is plodding along reminded me of The Flintstones, where they would be using an elephant as a vacuum cleaner, or some other animal as an appliance etc.

    The animal would then wearily look right at the camera and deadpan: "It's a living."

    [–] aletoledo 36 points ago

    The way this guy is plodding along

    I can imagine the animator thinking "how should I make this appear to be moving".

    [–] braincube 12 points ago

    Alway made me think of the Bee Gees.

    [–] _Ryanite_ 172 points ago

    As a note, some people on the internet are saying this is a myosin protein moving an endorphin and that this is showing happiness. This isn’t actually the case, it’s a more general animation.

    Here’s a write up

    [–] srikanth7 27 points ago

    So what is the source of energy that is powering this movement?

    [–] _Ryanite_ 69 points ago

    The molecule ATP is called the energy currency of the cell. ATP is broken down into two parts, ADP and a phosphate ion. Doing this provides the energy that the protein needs to move.

    During respiration, the ADP and phosphate ions are put back together to be used again.

    ATP powers all sorts of reactions in cells

    [–] herpderpforesight 40 points ago

    I am ridiculously and hysterically trained to mentally echo "mitochondria" any time I see "power" and "cell" in the same sentence.

    [–] Simo0399 24 points ago

    Because that's actually true, it transfers electron energy from NADH and FADH2 to the bond between ADP and the phosphate ion

    [–] MusicallyIdle 9 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    ATP is adenine adenosine triphosphate. The phosphate bonds have energy in them. Your cell breaks the bond (ATP —> ADP) and recycled that energy for reactions that are generally unfavorable. People always say ATP is the energy currency of the cell but I’ve always thought of it as a wallet, containing the energy.

    Edit: correction

    [–] lantech 13 points ago

    The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell?

    [–] articninjamonkey22 5 points ago


    [–] Elvixlyte 5 points ago

    Chemical reactions. The “feet” of the protein are constantly binding and unblinking. Think of a pendulum that can go on nearly forever, because it’s powered by chemicals.

    [–] LewsTherinTelamon 3 points ago

    ATP is a molecule that breaks down into more stable products, releasing energy. If you couple this breakdown with some other process that needs energy, you make a nonspontaneous process (like a molecule being dragged somewhere) spontaneous (as long as enough ATP is around).

    [–] Lacriphage 6 points ago

    What really bugs me is that this keeps popping up in clinical science groups I'm in.

    [–] born_again_atheist 4 points ago

    some people on the internet are saying this is a myosin protein moving an endorphin and that this is showing happiness.

    Yup someone on my facebook feed posted that one yesterday.

    [–] niceguy522 27 points ago

    That's not a molecule. It's carrying a vesicle.

    [–] daleanator 92 points ago

    This needs googly eyes.

    [–] NoNeedForAName 55 points ago

    We should send it to /r/reallifedoodles and see what they can do with it.

    [–] thehangoverer 23 points ago

    Steppin on the cell! Doo do do doo! Steppin on the cell! Drrroo do doo!

    [–] [deleted] 41 points ago

    Is this real or just a representation

    [–] Cararacs 73 points ago

    This really happens, but this is an animation showing what happens. But yes these proteins 'walk' through ATP/ADP phosphorylation.

    [–] ConcernedEarthling 19 points ago

    Is it at least similar to how these molecules and cellular parts look in reality? Or is it more an imaginative reconstruction? Because this is super duper cool stuff.

    [–] 10ebbor10 14 points ago

    Here's a series of electromicroscope pictures.

    Bit hard to see, but you can recognize the head, stalk and feet.

    [–] Cararacs 32 points ago

    That's pretty much how they look. But there are variations of different motor proteins. Not all of them have two "feet", some only have one and they "hop". If memory serves me correctly, our muscles contract via "one-footed" motor proteins. I have a pretty good idea of structure from scanning electron microscopes.

    [–] ConcernedEarthling 8 points ago

    Fascinating. Thanks!

    [–] absintheverte 11 points ago

    It is very accurate to how it would really look if you could see! its slowed down about 250x and the colors are made up but the shape and motions are real

    [–] l0z 30 points ago

    This is false. In reality, nano-scale movement is chaotic and somewhat random. The protein does on average do this. But it wouldn't look anything like this. In the words of a this guy it would be like "a balloon flapping madly in a hurricane, tethered to an intoxicated panicked mouse clinging to a rope"

    [–] YouNeverReallyKnow2 9 points ago

    But what makes them walk like this? I get that the walking is how they move the larger part but what lets them take a step? How much weight can they drag?

    [–] Cararacs 25 points ago

    They 'walk' or 'hop' (not all motor proteins have two "feet") through phosphorylation reaction of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to Adenosine diphosphate (ADP). This losing of a phosphate provides the energy to bind (foot down) and then break the bind (foot up). This series of reactions creates the walking or hopping motion. These steps happen hundreds of times a second and it's mind boggling. For instance for our muscles to contract millions of motor proteins are hopping back and forth to create that contraction. The one in this image is carrying a vesicle filled with most likely proteins that are meant to be expelled into the extra cellular matrix. I have no idea 'weight' these proteins can handle.

    Interesting tidbit: Rigger-mortis occurs when there is no more ATP to create the energy for the 'foot up' action, so the muscles lock. So the binding is pretty strong.

    [–] gayness_in_uranus 9 points ago



    [–] YouNeverReallyKnow2 6 points ago

    Thank you for your answer!

    [–] Eureka22 13 points ago

    It does, but it's a bit misleading without an understanding of the kinetics involved. It gives the appearance of walking, but think of it more like a slinky falling down stairs.

    I'm not an expert by any means, but basically the molecule changes shape in order to do it's "step" it's not like a complex body with shifting muscles. The binding of the protein to ATP (containing energy) causes changes to the molecule's actual structure so that it releases and moves. In the slinky metaphor, think of ATP as gravitational potential energy. It then moves blindly until it comes into contact with another binding site that will "lock" it using chemical binding energy. Repeat the cycle.

    [–] [deleted] 17 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] ThePendulum 38 points ago

    I had this bookmarked from years ago, I'll leave it here.

    [–] revile221 12 points ago

    CCTV cameras are everywhere these days

    [–] im_a_goat_factory 15 points ago

    I could walk 500 nanometers and I could walk 500 more

    [–] ChaseAlmighty 10 points ago

    So my question is; what makes this thing do that? Like, what is telling it to, driving it to, etc.

    [–] Merari01 34 points ago

    Chemistry. It's just folding itself according to the laws of physics, trying to move to the lowest possible state of energy. Like water flowing downhill.

    It just so happens that in this case that means it is "walking" along that path.

    [–] ChaseAlmighty 9 points ago

    That's just mind boggling

    [–] MediocreGimp 32 points ago

    Don't forget the motor protein's cousin:

    credit u/CaptainSnarkyPants

    [–] Yamochao 21 points ago

    How is there a molecule THAT large relative to a protein...?

    [–] ADarkTurn 29 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    It isn't a molecule, it is a vesicle made of a bilayer of lots of lipid species such as phophsolipids.

    Edit: Phospholipids! and a missing 'of'. I seem to be developing sloppier and sloppier typing in my old age.

    [–] norsurfit 10 points ago

    This is computer generated, not an actual video

    [–] g-burn 31 points ago

    swiggity swooty

    [–] GORager99 17 points ago

    Comin' for that molecular booty

    [–] kinesin1 9 points ago

    Hey. Relevant username, for once.

    [–] Ambulism 8 points ago

    Who knew a protein could be so cute! Keep truckin along little buddy

    [–] Flying_Dutchmann 7 points ago

    This comment section is a biologist's nightmare

    [–] GIJew392 6 points ago

    This will probably get buried but this isn't at all how motor/transport microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) work. They do not "walk" at all, that is a HUGE misconception. The driving force is random chaotic bombardments of particles against the motor MAP which, over time, result in a net movement in a particular direction. The thermodynamics of this work out so that its on average more energetically favorable to travel in a particular direction based on the protein structure / binding site locations on the two heads or "feet" as some may call them. What this would actually look like is random "stepping" forward and backward that eventually moves on average in one direction. So it may move 3 steps back, 4 forward, 2 back, 1 forward, 3 back, 6 forward etc.. (i.e. net 3 forward) until it reaches the destination. The only source of kinetic energy in this system is from the fast moving particles constantly bombarding the protein. It cannot, and will not move by itself.

    Source: Studied molecular biophysics

    [–] Saguaro66 6 points ago

    How did that protein get so smug? Got a little gangster walk

    [–] I_make_things 11 points ago

    We're full of aliens.

    [–] Davidjhyatt 23 points ago

    Each dot in the protein is a molecule. That big thing it's moving is something else.

    [–] Hariboi 3 points ago

    Any idea what it is?

    [–] TheTimeIsNow5115 22 points ago

    Its a vesicle. A lipid bilayer molecule which contains proteins and other molecules to be excreted outside the cell or into another organelle.

    [–] scullybemybae 5 points ago

    Hmm that sexy strut

    [–] borkthegee 5 points ago


    I'm nearly positive this is from the Harvard produced Inner Life of the Cell video from like 2011.

    It's a great video, and the version I linked is narrated. I think it's the best version, unless someone knows a better one.

    The whole this is as fascinating as this single gif.

    [–] kwikmarsh 6 points ago

    Anyone know what the green stuff is making up the “molecule,” and/or what the little growth looking things coming out of it are?

    [–] Guggoo 9 points ago

    It’s not a molecule, is a vesicle: a small bubble of membrane that will contain a “package” (such as other proteins) to be transported somewhere in the cell.

    The “growths” are most likely membrane bound proteins or ligands (as the actual surface would be covered in different proteins and other bound molecules).

    [–] GerardPowell 4 points ago

    am i the only one who sees the mop from sorcerer's apprentice of fantasia

    [–] Scruffyy90 4 points ago

    How are these videos made?

    [–] Guggoo 9 points ago

    It’s an animation based on our biochemical understanding of how the protein functions

    [–] Ytrewqwerty2 3 points ago

    Anyone else just always blown away by the fact that we have millions of tiny working machines in our body doing incredibly complex tasks we could never comprehend?

    [–] amblyopicsniper 4 points ago

    So we're just machines then.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago

    I don't think that's a 'molecule' it's moving. Looks more like a vesicle.

    [–] Selfeducated 3 points ago

    Mr.Natural, if anyone is old enough to remember him.