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The Molecules of Life

Introducing an issue about the new biology, which seeks to explain the molecular mechanisms underlying biological complexity. It has given rise to an industry, and to new ways of thinking about life

By Robert A. Weinberg

RNA

In all cells genetic information stored in DNA is converted into protein by RNA, which usually must be processed, even spliced, to serve its function. The first genes may have been spliced RNA

By James E. Darnell Jr.

Proteins

Proteins are the molecules encoded by genes. The proteins in turn give rise to structure and, by virtue of their selective binding to other molecules, make genes and all the other machinery of life

By Russell F. Doolittle

The Molecules of the Cell Membrane

They spontaneously form a simple, two-dimensional liquid controlling what enters and leaves the cell. Some cells internalize and then recycle a membrane area equivalent to their entire surface in less than an hour

By Mark S. Bretscher

The Molecules of the Cell Matrix

Proteins in the cytoplasm form a highly structured yet changeable matrix affecting cell shape, division and motion, and the transport of vesicles and organelles. It may also have a bearing on metabolism

By Klaus Weber and Mary Osborn

The Molecules of the Immune System

The proteins that recognize foreign invaders are the most diverse proteins known. They are encoded by hundreds of scattered gene fragments, which can be combined in mlllions or blllions of ways

By Susumu Tonegawa

The Molecular Basis of Communication within the Cell

The number of substances serving as signals in cells is remarkably small. Each such "second messenger" is a crucial guide for the cell, helping to determine how the cell responds to the organism's needs

By Michael J. Berridge

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: October 1985

  • Books, October 1985

  • DNA

  • Science and the Citizen, October 1985

  • The Molecular Basis of Communication between Cells

  • The Molecular Basis of Development

  • The Molecular Basis of Evolution

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, October 1985

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, October 1985

  • Departments

    The Authors, October 1985

  • Computer Recreations, October 1985

  • Bibliography, October 1985

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October 1985

Think Outside the Gift Box