Biochemistry of Condensates: hidden mechanisms of how life works

What are Condensates, and how do they enable the machinery of life inside cells?

https://www.wired.com/story/a-newfound-source-of-cellular-order-in-the-chemistry-of-life/

Click the link and read about Condensates. Since middle school, when I first learned about cells, and then later learned about nucleic acids and “self-assembly”, it has always puzzled me how everything gets to where it needs to go, at the speed that life happens.

In the context of SARS-CoV2 (the virus causing Covid-19), how does the mRNA that is injected into the cell by the virus find the ribosomes that encode the Spike protein and assemble daughter viruses? How does the ribosome find all the amino acids among the millions of molecules to assemble the right proteins? How do the assembled proteins move to the right spots on the cell membrane?

I can imagine a lonely ribosome with an attached mRNA just WAITING for the right amino acid to come along to assemble the next link in the protein chain. How does it happen so fast?

If movement in a cell is dependent on just Brownian motion (random vibrations), it seems like it ought to take a LONG time (minutes? hours? days?) but it takes seconds.

Now it seems like Condensates are how this works.

CMIO’s take? Every time we think we know something about microbiology and that we know how deep the rabbit hole goes, the rabbit hole always goes deeper, my friends. What are YOU reading to expand your horizons?

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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