Nature’s Solution to the Problem of Biological Logistics

author: Zoltan Maliga, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Institute
published: July 10, 2009,   recorded: June 2009,   views: 3058

See Also:

Download slides icon Download slides: ccss09_maliga_arstbln_01.ppt (14.1 MB)

Help icon Streaming Video Help

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


The ability of cells to survive and participate in a community, such as the human body, requires a logistical network that distributes nutrients, cellular contents, and information at biologically reasonable time-scales. How does a robust, adaptable system emerge from the sum of individual hard-wired molecular agents operating in a noisy environment? For example, motor proteins deliver cargo along intracellular filaments to appropriate sites in a network of molecular compartments whose connectivity is slowly becoming elucidated. However, surprisingly little is known about what these motor proteins do, specifically, (1) where they go in cells, (2) what they transport, and (3) how their activity is regulated. To address these basic questions, we modified motor proteins so they could be visualized in live cells and recovered with their physical binding partners. Individual motor proteins were also removed from cells to determine the overall effect on different cellular trafficking pathways. We found that different motor proteins are targeted to unique sub-cellular compartments and identified regulatory proteins resident in these compartments that could serve as molecular postal codes, or otherwise regulate the cycle of cargo binding and release. Overall, this provides an example of a biological solution to managing complex systems using a limited number of components.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: