Each cell inside your body is packed full of devices that make your life—and all life—possible. These exquisite “molecular machines” are a form of nanotechnology that make human-designed technologies look primitive by comparison. Explore the amazing features of molecular machines in the articles below.
Casey Luskin, “Molecular Machines in the Cell”
Masterpieces of microengineering, kinesins are motorized transport machines that move cellular materials to their correct locations in the cell so they can perform their functions. Kinesins have two feet, or “globular heads,” that literally walk, one foot over another. Known as the “workhorses of the cell,” kinesins can carry cargo many times their own size.
ATP Synthase serves as a miniature power-generator in many living organisms, producing an energy-carrying molecule, adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. The ATP synthase molecular machine has many parts we recognize from human-designed technology, including a rotor, a stator, a camshaft or driveshaft, and other basic components of a rotary engine. This machine is just the final step in a long and complex metabolic pathway involving numerous enzymes and other molecules—all so the cell can produce ATP to power biochemical reactions, and provide energy for other molecular machines in the cell.