If you’ve ever wondered what the heck Behe was smoking when he claims there are literal trucks trundling about on literal highways with literal traffic signals inside of cells, well, I don’t have an answer for you…but there is a wonderful Flash movie that will show you the Inner Life of a Cell so you can see what “molecular machines” look like, more or less. It’s a spectacular show. What you’ll see is the series of events that transpire when a lymphocyte encounters a cell surface signal that triggers emigration out of a capillary and into other tissues; it zooms rather abruptly from a cellular view to the molecules on the surface interacting with one another, then into the interior of the cell to see the response. All kinds of cool stuff fly by: actin and microtubule assembly and disassembly, kinesin-mediated vesicle transport, protein synthesis on ribosomes, ER processing, vesicle fusion, etc.
I do have a couple of gripes, though. One is an understandable shortcut: the cell is far too uncluttered, and events proceed in too directed a manner—there ought to be much more stochastic noise at the molecular level. We’re seeing chemistry in action, after all. Another is that there is no explanation at all for anything we’re seeing, it’s simply a weird and trippy voyage into a subcellular world. This clip was created under the auspices of Harvard scientists, so I hope there is a viewing guide somewhere, otherwise it’s only going to be appreciated by people who have already read Molecular Biology of the Cell(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). I think it also needed a disclaimer somewhere that this video too is a visual metaphor for cellular activity.
But I’m being picky. Otherwise, it’s an excellent introduction to the profound weirdness of the processes going on inside a cell.