Oxford May Music: Nature’s “White Vans”

Oxford May Music: Nature’s “White Vans”


Prof. David Owen on the delivery network of the cell

Every one of the trillions of cells in the human body are surrounded by a membrane that contains an enormous variety of transmembrane proteins. These proteins mediate the interactions of a cell with the outside world including other cells, the blood and the immune system. Transmembrane proteins also permit small molecules, nutrients and as well as many pathogens to selectively traverse the otherwise impermeable membrane barriers. Hence the protein composition of a cell’s outer membrane must be carefully and dynamically regulated if cells are to survive i.e the right amounts of the right proteins must be in the right membrane at the right time. Cells achieve this control by moving the transmembrane proteins to compartments inside the cell in small transport vesicles formed by ‘pinching off’ a small portion of the parent membrane. That these transport processes are fundamental is reflected by the fact that ~30% of mammalian proteins are either components of this transport machinery or its cargo.

Duration: 1 hour with no interval

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