Thursday, June 25, 2009
Actin and the Cosmic Theme
(c) 2009 R. E.Morel All rights reserved.
Photo quiz: Seems like I gave away the answer, sort of. These are actin filaments (green) in cells. The blue blobs are the nuclei, storehouses of information, most of it billions of years old. They hold the codes for making all of the substances cells (including our cells) need to live, including the codes for making actin.
But what are actin filaments and what do they do? How do they reflect the cosmic theme? A cell is a buzz of transactions. And every transaction is an expression of the comic theme. Actin plays many roles. For one thing it acts as "railroad tracks," rails direct vital substances contained in cellular vesicles (remember vesicles?) to their destinations. And they are part of our muscles. Without them, we couldn't so much as wiggle a finger.
What is it?