Maybe it's Science!, Uncategorized

Inner Life of a Cell

Finally more Science!

I was not born a biologist. My interest in biology piqued through my time in college when I was lucky enough to be exposed to several phenomena through lectures and videos. Like many of us, I have been doubtful also about what I really want to do in life and what is it that can keep me engrossed (without ennui, of course) for years to come. One of the first times I felt myself staring at the screen in awe was when I watched the video called ‘Inner Life of a Cell’, a Harvard creation! Instead of the more academic approach, the creators of this video made something cinematic in its feel! And it sealed the deal for me. I knew it was biology that I wanted to seriously pursue.

For everyone who wonders what the inside of a cell looks like, this video has to be your one stop solution!

It starts with a view of the blood vessel, with red and white blood cells flowing through it and then goes on to describe the ‘life’ of a leukocyte (a white blood cell). There are 5 kinds of leukocytes in the human body and collectively they are responsible for our immune response, both innate and adaptive.

From cell adhesion molecules (used to adhere and communicate with the neighbouring cells) to organelles within the cell performing various specialized functions (Endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, etc) to molecular transport of vesicles (contain cargo material that need to be transported to different parts of the cell) this video is a beautiful illustration of the various cellular features.

For me, my moment of awe in the video is when they show the motor proteins transporting a vesicle, as they walk on the microtubule filament (a protein that forms the cytoskeleton; a criss-cross pattern of roads on which these motor proteins walk in a directed fashion!). The assembly and dis-assembly of microtubules is beautifully shown. I cannot help but watch that part several times, just to witness that one phenomenon.  Finally, the video ends with the concept of ‘extravasation’ (the part where you see the cell squeezing out of the blood vessel. Biologically called diapedesis, this is the process of movement of white blood cells from blood vessels/capillaries to the surrounding tissue to ‘fight’ pathogens or foreign bodies.

Even if you are not a biologist and would just like to know how the cell functions and what it would be like to be within a cell, you must watch this one!

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