Machinery on the Micron Scale
December 14, 2010 10:35 PM   Subscribe

The Cell: An Image Library collects visualizations of single-cell structures, mechanisms and events. (via)

Due to the visual spectacularity factor, this site is biased toward eukaryotic organisms, but features many species. The main page also allows sorting by process, component, and cell type.

Keep in mind: none of the processes have intention, but rather result from complex physical interactions. For example, the featured animation for the process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis shows the clathrin shell magically forming. Our current understanding would suggest that clathrin triskelions bind to an adaptor protein, thus leaving individual binding events to be statistical, dependent on diffusion of the triskelions.

With that caveat, this site may provide some visual understanding of the intricate cellular processes that enable life.
posted by jjray (3 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is great. I particularly like the licensing page. Warning academics that they don't actually own their own published papers is a nice reminder about the value of open-access journals. Nice to see there are creative commons and public domain options. Go ASCB!
posted by benzenedream at 2:09 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting all of this, it's really cool, and I intend to add it to my list of resources for students.
posted by mareli at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2010

Wow, very cool. When I was a graduate student, animations more primitive than these would only run on super-expensive Sun workstations, and we had to go to the X-ray crystallography lab to see the molecules dance. Now anybody with a laptop can sit on the couch in their bunny slippers and watch coated pits form. (Come to think of it, clathrin was pretty new and hot back then too.)

I like to think that stuff like this - computer science and wetwork data - is a gift from my generation of geeks to you guys.
posted by Quietgal at 10:34 AM on December 15, 2010

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