One of my favourite things about the holiday
season is travelling to visit family and friends. But when I go to the airport I’m still quite
anxious about checking my bags in because you never know if they’re going to get to
their destination. Cells are not unlike a crowded airport and there are lots and lots
of proteins. Tens of millions inside one cell. So how do they all know where they need to
be? It turns out that some proteins have special signal sequences that can be recognised by
a molecular machine called the signal recognition particle. In humans, the signal recognition
particle, or SRP, is made of six proteins and one RNA molecule.
The SRP can read these signal sequences and take the proteins to their destination, just
like luggage at the airport. The signal recognition particle is found in all life, from bacteria,
all the way to human, which tells you how important the system is.
Let’s hope that this holiday season the airport luggage system is just as efficient
as its natural version, the SRP. I hope you enjoyed this video and come back
tomorrow to learn about the next molecular machine.