Molecular Machines in the CellCasey Luskin
Discovery Institute
June 11, 2010
Print ArticleIntroduction
Long before the advent of modern technology, students of biology compared the workings of life to machines.1 In recent decades, this comparison has become stronger than ever. As a paper in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology states, “Today biology is revealing the importance of ‘molecular machines’ and of other highly organized molecular structures that carry out the complex physico-chemical processes on which life is based.”2 Likewise, a paper in Nature Methods observed that “[m]ost cellular functions are executed by protein complexes, acting like molecular machines.”3
A molecular machine, according to an article in the journal Accounts of Chemical Research, is “an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion, or energy from one to another in a predet