Inside a cell
September 8, 2006 1:00 PM   Subscribe

BioVisions at Harvard University presents, The Inner Life of the Cell (Flash 8 Player). Explanation of what you see (It's meant to be fairly accurate).
posted by semmi (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I ran across Hybrid Medical Animation a few years ago. Commercial site, but reasonably accurate.
posted by porpoise at 1:08 PM on September 8, 2006


Trippy. Like Tron, but with more LSD.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:33 PM on September 8, 2006


fucking hell, that's really awesome.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:44 PM on September 8, 2006


This seems weirdly unofficial. There's a Biovisions 3D page at the Molvisions web site; they say that this is "...not yet available for viewing, and a release date has not been set." They also say, rather cryptominously, that "This product is not under active private development." It also seems like Molvisions isn't "at" Harvard, but is rather working with someone in Harvard's MCB department; I can't find his web page, though.

I wish I could figure out who to give the proper credit for this, 'cause I'm so using it in my next talk.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:46 PM on September 8, 2006


so totally awesome.

Can we start locking away jerks who complain that science robs the universe of beauty yet?
posted by freebird at 2:44 PM on September 8, 2006


That was apparently a bacterial cell, rather then a eucaryotic one. Pussies.

Also it seemed like things were floating through some weird space, rather then through liquid water, which at that scale would be like some bizarre lattice caused by the molecule's polarity. So while it was cool it was a little wrong. But oh well.
posted by delmoi at 3:22 PM on September 8, 2006


It also seems like Molvisions isn't "at" Harvard, but is rather working with someone in Harvard's MCB department; I can't find his web page, though.

The credits frame in the video says:
Conception and Scientific content by Alain Viel and Robert A. Lue

Animation by John Liebler/XVIVO

Supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Inistitute © 2006 The president and Fellows of Harvard College.
I think this video would have freaked old Howard out a bit.
posted by delmoi at 3:27 PM on September 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


delmoi writes "That was apparently a bacterial cell, rather then a eucaryotic one."

What makes you think that? I'm pretty sure I saw a nucleus (with mRNAs zipping out of it), along with complex cytoskeletal structure (actin and microtubules), motor-driven vesicles, and a golgi apparatus. I think those are all unique to eukaryotes. This might be a depiction of a monocyte being activated to a macrophage and migrating out of the bloodstream.

delmoi writes "Also it seemed like things were floating through some weird space, rather then through liquid water, which at that scale would be like some bizarre lattice caused by the molecule's polarity. "

I think the big misrepresentation is actually the degree of molecular crowding. Cells are absolutely packed with biomolecules; almost to the point where the cytoplasm is more of a hydrogel than a liquid. This video showed a protein here, a protein there.... In reality, it would be packed almost solid with them.

But if you tried to depict that, you wouldn't be able to see anything interesting going on.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:39 PM on September 8, 2006


Trippy. Like Tron, but with more LSD.
The MCP via purple microdot was insane.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:52 PM on September 8, 2006


*purrs*
posted by owhydididoit at 3:58 PM on September 8, 2006


Damn, that's awesome. Thank you!
posted by Paragon at 4:02 PM on September 8, 2006


That was apparently a bacterial cell, rather then a eucaryotic one. Pussies.
didn't you see the mRNA chains shooting out of the nuclear pores? Bacteria don't have those... remember it, because it's the answer to question number 16 of your Biol101 midterm.

I'm so glad they showed those little transport molecules that lollop along the microtubules. What do they carry in reality, because it looked like a lysosome in that video, but i can't recall.
I've seen a clip online of this in real life filmed using tunnelling microscopy, and it blew my mind... that's all i can offer you though, since i can't find it right now.
posted by wumpus at 4:25 PM on September 8, 2006


"the coolest bit of the video - a microtubule motor protein pulls some sort of cargo (I'm guessing a lipid globule) to its destination in the cell. The cellular motor proteins really do look like this - their mechanism of action is basically a walk forwards."

answered
posted by wumpus at 4:27 PM on September 8, 2006


wumpus writes "I'm so glad they showed those little transport molecules that lollop along the microtubules. What do they carry in reality, because it looked like a lysosome in that video, but i can't recall."

Most vesicles, including lysosomes, are transported along microtubules. I don't know what a "lipid globule" is, but I saw two vesicle transport events depicted in the video, oneis an endosome being transported into the cell, the other is a vesicle being transported from the golgi to the cell surface.

Personally, I was happy to see the lipid rafts. That's the part of the video I'm going to use in my next talk.

Anybody know how I can grab a swf file from off the web?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:46 PM on September 8, 2006


Wow, that was beautiful.

Anybody know how I can grab a swf file from off the web?

Here's a direct link to the .swf. Right click, save as.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:10 PM on September 8, 2006


rhapsodie writes "Here's a direct link to the .swf. Right click, save as."

Well, flash kills the right click menu, of course, leaving you with the standard macromedia options menu. I tried saving the whole page from the File menu of my browser, but the file it wound up saving contained no data...
posted by mr_roboto at 5:13 PM on September 8, 2006


I meant right click on my link and then choose save as.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:16 PM on September 8, 2006


rhapsodie writes "I meant right click on my link and then choose save as."

Nope; that's the same as saving from the file menu: the resulting file is 64 kB on disk....
posted by mr_roboto at 5:18 PM on September 8, 2006


Odd, it's always worked for me before. That should teach me to try my advice before offering it. *cough*
posted by rhapsodie at 5:23 PM on September 8, 2006


Anybody know how I can grab a swf file from off the web?

Here's a direct link to the .swf. Right click, save as.


Does this work?
posted by facapulco at 5:44 PM on September 8, 2006


facapulco writes "Does this work?"

Brilliant! Thanks, facapulco!
posted by mr_roboto at 5:53 PM on September 8, 2006


That was breathtakingly awesome, thanks.
posted by azazello at 6:42 PM on September 8, 2006


Sweet crap that was awesome.
posted by scodger at 10:27 PM on September 8, 2006


Beautiful.
posted by effwerd at 9:23 AM on September 9, 2006


2 thumbs waaaay up!! thanks semmi
posted by storybored at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2006


Roboto, here's a link to the actual article that describes how the animation sequence was made.
posted by Joey Bagels at 11:54 AM on September 9, 2006


delmoi & mr_roboto:

From Joey Bagels link:
In some instances, that meant sacrificing literal accuracy for visual effect. “What we did in some cases, with the full support of the Harvard team, was subtly change the way things work,” Liebler says. “The reality is that all that stuff that’s going on in each cell is so tightly packed together that if we were to put every detail into every shot, you wouldn’t be able to see the forest for the trees or know what you were even looking at. One of the most common things we did, then, was to strip it apart and add space where there isn’t really that much space."
posted by odinsdream at 1:10 PM on September 9, 2006


Other molecular visualizations can be found at
Stylus Visuals...
posted by armacy at 1:48 PM on September 11, 2006


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