The quantified cell.
Bottom Line: The microscopic world of a cell can be as alien to our human-centered intuition as the confinement of quarks within protons or the event horizon of a black hole.We are prone to thinking by analogy-Golgi cisternae stack like pancakes, red blood cells look like donuts-but very little in our human experience is truly comparable to the immensely crowded, membrane-subdivided interior of a eukaryotic cell or the intricately layered structures of a mammalian tissue.So in our daily efforts to understand how cells work, we are faced with a challenge: how do we develop intuition that works at the microscopic scale?
Affiliation: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720.Show MeSH
Mentions: However, how many actin filaments are required to move a cell? As shown in Figure 2, the leading edge of a goldfish keratocyte lamellipodium is ≈20 μm long and contains ∼200 actin filaments/μm of length, or ≈4000 filaments in total (Abraham et al., 1999). If actin polymerizes primarily at the leading edge of the lamellipodium (Pantaloni, 2001), then our keratocyte must burn ≈4000 × 100 = 4 × 105 ATP/s to power its movement (Figure 2).
Affiliation: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720.