Structural Biology of Cellular Machines

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Wah Chiu, Matthew L. Baker and Steven C. Almo (2006) Structural biology of cellular machines. TRENDS in Cell Biology, 16, 144-150 (Review)

Cell is the smallest unit of life. The cell membrane encloses cytoplasm inside the cell. However, different cells have various functions and are essential to biological processes, which depend on the different structures influencing their cellular machines. With the development of science, many scientists began to concentrate on structural cell biology, which is helpful to understand details of cellular machines. Recently, the studies focused on the ribosome, the acrosomal bundle and bacterial flagella. These are the good source to know how the cell organelles work. Much deeper researches can help us to solve some healthy problems. This kind of research help us to clear several misapprehend in these fields and get the accurate conclusions.

In this review, the authors introduced three kinds of cellular machines, single particle machines, filamentous machines and assemblies of assemblies.

Firstly, single particle machines have a wide range of information need to be analyzed, such as morphologies, functions and complexity. Therefore, some kinds of technologies are necessary during investigation. For example, because of ribosomal is quintessential biological machine, the subunits to be the biological driving forces are observed with various technology developments for the studies. The most efficacious ways are X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM. The biochemical and genetic mechanisms of cellular assemblies information can be easily got. X-ray crystallography shows the structural detail of macromolecules and their assemblies at or near atomic resolution. In addition, cryo-EM displays cellular assemblies in different forms, symmetries, sizes and shapes.

Secondly, filamentous machines is a unique family of biological machines buildup by single subunits to form linear or helical shapes for special functions, such as,...
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