February 23, 2011

The Internet of Protein Molecules

The Internet of Protein Molecules or how protein molecules get transported from their place of manufacture to their place of work from research at Umea University.

Most newly produced proteins in a cell need to be transported to the proper place before they can be put to work. For proteins to find their way, they have a built-in signal linked to them, a kind of address label. Moreover, they are helped by a particle that guides them to the cell membrane.

For the Internet to work each data packet carries a source and destination IP address with it and using those, it correctly gets transported to its destination. Somewhat similarly, each protein molecule carries an address and a guide to go from its place of manufacture to its place of work. With roughly a billion protein molecules per cell, such a system ensures that everything works properly.