Your Body’s Molecular Machines

Your Body’s Molecular Machines


These are tiny molecular machines, and they are doing this inside your body – right now. To understand why, we have to zoom out. Every day, in an adult human body, 50 to 70 billion of your cells die. Either they’re stressed, or damaged, or just old. But this is normal – in fact, it’s called “programmed cell death”. But, to make up for all these lost cells, right now, billions of your cells are dividing, essentially creating new cells. And that process of cell division, also called mitosis — well, it requires an army of tiny molecular machines. So, let’s take a closer look. DNA is a good place to start – the double helix molecule we always talk about. This is a scientifically accurate depiction of DNA, created by Drew Berry at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. If you unwind the two strands, you can see that each has a sugar-phosphate backbone connected to the sequence of nucleic acid base pairs, known by the letters A, T, G and C. Now, the strands run in opposite directions, which is important when you go to copy DNA. Copying DNA is one of the first steps in cell division. Here, the two strands of DNA are being unwound and separated by the tiny blue molecular machine called “helicase”. Helicase literally spins as fast as a jet engine! The strand of DNA on the right has its complementary strand assembled continuously. But the other strand is more complicated, because it runs in the opposite direction. So it must be looped out with its complementary strand assembled in reverse, section by section. At the end of this process, you have two identical DNA molecules, each one a few centimeters long, but just a couple nanometers wide. So, to prevent the DNA from becoming a tangled mess, it is wrapped around proteins called “histones”, forming a nucleosome. These nucleosomes are bundled together into a fiber known as chromatin, which is further looped and coiled to form a chromosome, one of the largest molecular structures in your body. You can actually see chromosomes under a microscope in dividing cells. Only then do they take on their characteristic shape. Otherwise, the DNA is more strewn inside the nucleus. The process of dividing a cell takes around an hour in mammals, so this footage is from a time-lapse. You can see how the chromosomes line up on the equator of the cell. Now, when everything is right, they are pulled apart into the two new daughter cells, each one containing an identical copy of DNA. Now, simple as this looks, the process is incredibly complicated and requires even more fascinating molecular machines to accomplish it. So, let’s look at a single chromosome. One chromosome consists of two sausage shaped chromatids, containing the identical copies of DNA made earlier. Each chromatid is attached to microtubule fibers, which guide and help align them in the correct position. The microtubules are connected to the chromatid at the kinetochore, here colored red. The kinetochore consists of hundreds of different proteins working together to achieve multiple objectives. In fact, it’s one of the most sophisticated molecular mechanisms inside your body. The kinetochore is central to the successful separation of the chromatids. It creates a dynamic connection between the chromosome and the microtubules. For a reason no one’s yet been able to figure out, the microtubules are constantly being built at one end and deconstructed at the other. While the chromosome is still getting ready, the kinetochore sends out a chemical “stop” signal to the rest of the cell, shown here by the red molecules, basically saying, “this chromosome is not yet ready to divide.” The kinetochore also mechanically senses tension. When the tension is just right, and the position and attachment are correct, all the proteins get ready, shown here by turning green. At this point, the stop signal broadcasting system is not switched off! Instead, it is literally carried away from the kinetochore, down the microtubules, by a dynein motor – that’s the walking guy. This is really what it looks like: it has long “legs” so it can avoid obstacles and step over the kinesins, molecular motors that walk in the opposite direction. Personally, I’m astounded by these tiny molecular machines, how they’re able to routinely and faithfully execute their functions billions of times over inside your body at this exact instant. I’m also amazed by the scientists who were able to work out how this happens in such detail that we could create realistic depictions of them, like you saw in the animations in this video. But, perhaps, the most amazing thing is just how much is left to be discovered, like, figuring out how exactly the chromatids are pulled to opposite ends of the cell. There is still so much that we don’t quite know. You know, what I find exciting is, that in science fiction, for decades, we’ve been writing about tiny nanobots that will be injected into our blood streams that can heal us. But, what this suggests, the existence of these tiny molecular machines inside us, it suggests that there isn’t a physical limit that would prevent that. And so, I think it’s pretty likely that, in future, we will be able to develop our own tiny molecular machines that will be able to repair our bodies better than they can repair themselves.

100 Replies to “Your Body’s Molecular Machines”

  1. Man could not do it better.
    Our body's only weakness is toxins due to your environment and lifestyle throughout your life.
    Its is as if we are all unique alchemy labs collecting various assortments of toxins most of which have never been tested with one another. What could go wrong?

  2. THANKS YOU HAVE HELPED A BRAZILIAN STUDENT, IVE GOT A TEST ABOUT IT TOMORROW, EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE NOW. MY TEACHER DOESNT KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN. EVEN THOUGH ITS IN ENGLISH I CANT UNDERSTAND COS I HAVENT FOUND ANY VIDEO IN PORTUGUESE WITH THIS COMPLEXITY UNFORTUNATELY.

    CHEERS MATE

  3. Whoaa.. It's like entire different universe working inside us.. 😮
    Derek please put more videos on this topic. Very fascinating!

  4. Mitochondria: No Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) were harmed in the video.

    Also mitochondria: forces them to be a nice energy source and the cell slaughters many poor ATP

  5. "There isnt a physical limit that would prevent that."
    Exactly. Nano-bots will cure all diseases.
    As long as youre rich.

  6. Terrifying animations its like some old sfx in movie. Credit to the guy who mimics the real movments or jesticulations of dna rna etc. Mind blowing. The body really is the Ultimate vessel…….yet known? Nobody knows the whys why it does what it does and how the consciousness sits perfectly a top its structure.

  7. lmfao…….and all this happened by chance along with all the other amazing miracles of the body's construction all derived from a rock! Darwin eat your hat!

  8. And all of this is created by chance, over millions of years? How stupid one must be after seeing this to believe in evolution. More probably they do not dare to say that the emperor is naked?

  9. When life got too complex to understand some quit and called it God, some went on and called it biology. Respect for biologists!

  10. Guys, you need to learn about ISLAM, forget what you hear about it and forget the mistakes made by some followers. READ the QURAN and SUNNAH and you will find all the answers.

  11. FIRST MATTER:
    In every facet of the motion of all particles the light of Divine unity shines like the sun. For as is proved briefly in the First Indication of the Tenth Word and in detail in the Twenty-Second Word, if every particle is not an official of God acting with His permission and under His authority, and if it is not undergoing change within His knowledge and power, then every particle must have infinite knowledge and limitless power; it must have eyes that see everything, a face that looks to all things, and authority over all things. For every particle of the elements acts, or can act, in an orderly fashion in all animate beings. But the order within things and laws according to which they are formed differ from one thing to the next. If their order was not known to the particles, the particles could not act, or even if they could act, they could not act without error. In which case, the particles which are performing their duties in beings are either acting with the permission and at the command, and within the knowledge and at the will, of the owner of an all-encompassing knowledge, or they themselves must have such an all-encompassing knowledge and power.
    Yes, all particles of air can enter the bodies of all animate beings, the fruits of all flowers, and the structures of all leaves. They can act within them, although the way the beings are formed is all different and their order and systems quite distinct. As though the factory of a fig was a loom for weaving cloth and the factory of a pomegranate, a machine for producing sugar, and so on; the programmes of their structures and bodies all differ from each other. A particle of air, then, enters or can enter all of them. It takes up its position and acts in a wise and masterly fashion without error. And on completion of its duty it departs. A mobile particle of mobile air, therefore, either must know the forms, shapes, measures, and formations with which plants and animals, and even fruits and flowers, are clothed, or else it must be an official acting under the command and will of one who does know.
    Similarly with a stationary particle of stationary earth: since it has the ability to be the means and place of cultivation for all the seeds of all flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees, either there must be in the particle itself or in the handful of soil that is its little house immaterial machinery and factories in good working order to the number of the varieties of the trees and plants, and flowers and fruits in fact, it is in every single particle that there must be a factory peculiar to it and all the equipment and machinery necessary for the running of the factory or else it must have a miraculous knowledge that knows all things about all things and a miracle-working power that creates everything from nothing; or, those duties are performed at the command and with the permission of One Who is Knowing of All Things, and through the power and might of One Who is Absolutely Powerful over All Things.
    If an untrained and inexperienced, common, ordinary, and blind man was to go to Europe and in all the factories there to work at all the trades and crafts in perfect and masterly fashion, and if he was to display a wise and artistic skill to such a degree that it left everyone speechless with amazement, anyone with a grain of consciousness would know that the man was not acting on his own initiative, but that a master of all trades was teaching him and causing him to work.
    And if there was a blind and impotent man who lived in a simple little house and was unable even to rise from his place, and if small fragments of stone, and bits and pieces of material like bone and cotton were to enter his little house and then sacks of sugar, bales of cloth, crates of jewelry, finely-made clothes encrusted with jewels, and delicious foods were to emerge, would anyone with a grain of intelligence not say: "That man is a wretched doorkeeper or merely a latch on the door of the factory of a wondrous miracle-working being, which is the source of his miracles"?
    In exactly the same way, the motion and duties of particles of air in plants and trees, and blossom and fruit, all of which are missives of the Eternally Besought One, antique dominical works of art, miracles of power, and wonders of wisdom, indicate that the particles are acting under the command and at the will of an All-Wise and Glorious Maker, an All-Generous and Beauteous Creator.
    Particles of earth, also, since they are the source and means for the shoots and plants produced by seeds, each of which is a different factory and workbench, a different printing-press, treasury, and antique, a different manifesto proclaiming the Glorious Maker's Names and ode hymning His perfections, it is as definite as two plus two equalling four that the particles of earth are acting at the command, with the permission, and through the will and power of an All-Glorious Maker Who is Lord of the command of "Be!" and it is, {[*]: Qur'an, 36:82, etc.} and to Whose command everything is subjugated. In this we believe.
    Risale-i Nur Collection 572 – Bediüzzaman Said Nursi

  12. Evolution is nonsense it doesn't happen. This planet changes naturally nothing lives on this earth for millions of years. The fact that they find soft tissue in dinosaurs proves it. I don't know are exact history but you assholes don't ether. But go ahead ignore evidence teach your lies. Shame on you.

  13. Once in a while I'll try to believe in evolution. After watching this I gave up again. I have to repair my car. It just does not happen by chance.. It's easy: Volvo made the car. The volvo garage can repair it. God made us. He can repair us. We do go to the scrapyard when we refuse to be repaired…

  14. This art of 'design' is ….. a thing called 'irreducible complexity"
    me?…. I am overwhelmed with a healthy wonder
    and just to push the info envelope a little further in these tiny 'machines'
    this little 'motor'??
    https://youtu.be/NaVoGfSSSV8

  15. SEVENTH FLASH
    Look! With little difficulty you can see the seals of the Single, Eternally Besought One on the page of the earth, so raise your head, open your eyes, and look too at the great book of the universe. You will see that on it as a whole a stamp of unity is read out which is as clear as it is big. For like the components of a factory or members of a palace or town, these beings support one another, stretch out their hands to assist one another, and answer the needs and requests of one another, saying: "Here I am, at your service!" Assisting one another, they work together in order. Joining efforts, they serve animate beings. Co-operating and turned a single goal, they obey an All-Wise Disposer. They conform to a rule of mutual assistance which is in force from the sun and moon, night and day, and winter and summer, to plants coming to the assistance of hungry and needy animals, and animals hastening to the assistance of weak, noble men, and even nutritious substances flying to assist delicate, weak infants and fruits, and particles of food passing to the assistance of the cells of the body. They show to anyone who is not altogether blind that they are acting through the strength of a single, most generous Nurturer, and at the command of a single most wise Disposer.
    Thus, on the one hand this mutual support and assistance, this answering one another's needs, this mutual embracing, this subjugation, this order, testify decisively that beings are administered and organized by a single Disposer and are being impelled and directed by a single Nurturer. And on the other hand, this perfect grace within the universal wisdom to be seen plainly in the art of things; and the all-embracing mercy which shines within the providence; and the sustenance spread over that mercy and scattered so as to answer the needs of all living beings needy for sustenance; -these form a stamp of Divine unity so brilliant that anyone whose mind is not altogether extinguished will understand it and anyone who is not altogether blind will see it.
    Yes, a veil of wisdom demonstrating intention, consciousness, and will, has covered the whole universe, and upon that veil of wisdom has been spread a veil of grace and favour exhibiting beneficence, adornment, embellishment, and benevolence; and over that adorned veil of favour a garment of mercy displaying flashes of making known and loved, of bestowal and the granting of gifts has enveloped the universe; and spread over that illuminated veil of universal mercy is a table of general provisions showing kindness and bestowal and benevolence and perfect compassion and fine nurturing and dominical favour.
    Yes, all beings from particles to suns, whether individuals or species, or large or small, have been clothed in a magnificent shirt of wisdom embroidered with fruits and aims, benefits and purposes. And over the wisdom-displaying shirt, a garment of favour embroidered with flowers of grace and beneficence has been cut out in accordance with the stature of things; and over that ornamented garment of favour, a general table of sustenance has been set up, lit up with flashes of love, bestowal, affection, and the granting of gifts, to which the decorations of mercy have been attached, and which, together with bestowing those illuminated and jewel-encrusted decorations, is sufficient for all the groups of living beings on the face of the earth, and meets all their needs. Thus, this matter points to an All-Glorious Provider Who is All-Wise, All-Generous, and All-Compassionate, and shows Him as clearly as the sun.
    Is that so? Is everything in need of sustenance?
    Yes, like individual beings are in need of sustenance and all the necessities to continue their lives, we see that all the beings in the world, and especially living beings, whether universal or particular, wholes or parts, have many desires and needs, material and otherwise, for their existence, their lives, and the continuation of their lives. But their wants and needs are for such things that their hands cannot reach the least of them and their power is insufficient for the smallest of them. Yet, we see that all their wishes and material and immaterial sustenance is given to them From where he could not imagine, {[*]: Qur'an, 65:3.} from unhoped for places, with perfect order, at the appropriate time, in a suitable fashion, with perfect wisdom. And so, does this want and need of creatures and this manner of unseen help and assistance not show an All-Wise and Glorious Nurturer, an All-Compassionate Beauteous Disposer?
    Risale-i Nur Collection Words – 309 Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (R. A)

  16. Поразительное видео! Проделан огромный труд в изучении клеток и это впечатляет. Спасибо!

  17. For the religious who think this requires an old man in the sky using magic – evolution is NOT random, it is guided by the natural selection of random mutations that increase the odds of survival. Natural selection is the creative process that assembles this incredible machinery of life.

  18. Imagine trillions of people being born, living, dying and this incredible machinery operating behind the scenes in the darkness for thousands of years. The same machinery that powered Einstein's hand also powered Stalin's voicebox. And same for powering the person that was able to discover these molecular machines and then someone else who created this beautiful visualization.

  19. This happens not only in your body. It happens in every worm ,every spider, every cat, basically in every living being. And inside a cell you can't find anything alive, inside a cell there is no life, just complex chemistry and physics!!

  20. When humans thought they made the most advanced fastest production machine, they found out that their their own body has the fastest one yet… By Miles…

  21. Religion, Science, none of it matters because it's just a masterpiece either way and I'm not even going to argue about either but just to give my thoughts about the video.

  22. The INVISIBLE "God" is the leading character in Hebrew MYTHOLOGY which is why religions are the greatest money making scams in history.

  23. The INVISIBLE "God" is the leading character in Hebrew MYTHOLOGY which is why religions are the greatest money making scams in history.

  24. That complexity can not be fully understood by even all human brains on earth combined, meaning that the creator God is totally beyond human’s imagination. If billions of years are given to human to understand the creation of God, it is still far away. For billions of years for the stupid is meaningless. Only wise accepts God. Though humans are stupid enough to disregard all the complexity as a mere event happening by chance, while simple monument like pyramid is being accepted as a marvelous engineering. How stupid and wicked humans are. Only few elected by God know the truth.

  25. I feel horrible. Its 2019, the year of #metoo and black lives matter. Yet amongst all this wokeness I have molecular slaves working away in my body. Talk about these ultimate white privilege. We are all slave owners. Shame on you!

  26. Of all the brilliant minds in all of history, who could engineer such a design? I guess random chance of life from space soup is a better engineer than any scientist there ever was. Even scientists agree than random chance—so random that there would be trillions of times greater that Godzilla created the Earth versus alphabet space soup.

  27. According to evolution life started with a single cel. Dna and dna copying is required for the first stage of evolution, that is ways to advanced to spontaniously form

  28. You just stole all this from the ted talk, (you probably got permission but it is not original you should have given more credit to the talk

  29. I think it's interesting how many people in comments don't understand how evolution works and immediately assume some god did it. (which god? I assume it's the one you were told to believe in!)
    If only they could grasp the billions of years, tens of trillions of iterations it took to arrive at these marvelous machines we have today.
    Not by pure chance, but by the simple process of replication and natural selection.

  30. It's amazing how this brilliant, excellent, and complex animation required intelligent input, but that the actual biological activities that are being described did NOT.

  31. It is amazing how complex our body are, remembering it is there in the first place due to natural selection, which actually just a big coincidance

  32. ロボットは人間より優れていますか? いいえ、私たちはそれぞれこれらのロボットの銀河です。

  33. Amazing discoveries! And imagine, all these machinery happened by chance billions of years ago! And all the data that's necessary to build all this suddenly appeared from nowhere out of dead matter, ha!

  34. So my question is, how deep can we look into these things, what makes the molecular machines themselves tick? And then whatever makes them tick and so on. Then, where does it begin, and end?

  35. Scientism, Believe like your job depends on it. Just pour lots of Hydrogen in space and it'll turn into human beings all by itself.

  36. Can anyone tell me, with a straight face, that this evolved from lightning striking the proverbial primordial soup? None of these nano machines have ears, eyes or brains, yet, they know EXACTLY what to do, when to stop doing it and when to start up, again. Yep, just by chance, I'm sure. If you actually believe that, you have a billion times more faith than I could ever have.

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