Molecular Biology

Focusing on Systems

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 791
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.791b

Although much of modern molecular biology has been conducted in the spirit of reductionism—separating, identifying, and analyzing the component parts of cells and macromolecules—the new millennium has intensified a recent thrust toward integrative investigation. How do genes and gene products interact to subserve essential life functions, and how do macromolecules assemble into stable or cyclical conglomerates, such as the major synthetic factories for DNA (replisome), RNA (transcription complex), and protein (ribosome).

Nogales and Grigorieff review electron microscopic studies of a variety of cellular machines. In some cases, we can now see the outlines of amazingly irregular or beautifully symmetric molecular assemblages, and in other cases, it is now feasible to begin constructing frame by frame a filmstrip of how these machines operate.—GJC

J. Cell Biol.152, F1 (2001).

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