Your Inner Blob

By Carl Zimmer | June 9, 2009 3:23 pm

blob220.jpgYesterday, I wrote about how snakes use their scales to help them crawl without legs. But what if you don’t have bones–what if you’re just a single cell? I’ve always been fascinated by how cells crawl about, like minuscule versions of The Blob. I recently had an excellent time talking to some of the scientists who are figure out what goes on inside cells when they go from point A to point B. And that’s the subject of my article in today’s New York Times. Be sure to check out the video and graphics that go along with it. It’s alive!

[Image: Wikipedia]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Writing Elsewhere

Comments (4)

  1. I haven’t read it yet, but I bet you’re actin on inside information…

  2. Great article Carl! I instantly thought of my housemate – Chi Pak- who has a wonderful article in Nature Neurosciecne http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n2/abs/nrn2236.html explaining the different actin binding proteins/ depolymerizing factors that facilitate treadmilling in different ways. I did a rotation in Dr. James Bamburg’s Lab (where Chi works) at Colorado State and man did I get a large does of ADF/Cofilin. It was great fun and I learned a lot.

    Another point of added information I thought of while reading the last few paragraphs of your article was a recent seminar I saw by Scott A. Weed PhD. he is researching “invadopodia” the cell protrusions that invade surrounding tissue during metastasis. He mentioned some specific compounds that are in phase 2 trials as anti-cancer that specifically target the moving “invadopdia” but leave the background cytoskeletons alone.
    The title of his talk was
    “Regulation of Cytoskeletal signaling pathways in tumor cell invasion”

    hope this gives you and your readers some worthy extra thoughts to ponder.
    Cheers
    -Kris

  3. Another point of added information I thought of while reading the last few paragraphs of your article was a recent seminar I saw by Scott A.

  4. Jo

    Such a strange thing, to be informed of what my own cells are up to. All this activity going on, each one its own little entity going about its business, and collectively they are somehow ‘me’.

    Life is fascinating.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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