The Molecular Control of Cellular Activity

The Molecular Control of Cellular Activity

The Molecular Control of Cellular Activity

The Molecular Control of Cellular Activity

Excerpt

The papers contained within this volume are the result of a series of lectures held in Ann Arbor during the Spring of 1960 under the auspices of the Institute of Science and Technology of The University of Michigan.

During the past decade the biologist's concept of the cell has been greatly altered by accumulation of significant new information derived from diverse areas of inquiry. The demonstration of a wealth of structural detail within the cell as a result of studies with the electron microscope has had a major impact in this conceptual alteration.

Closely associated with this morphological advance has been the assignment of biochemical and physiological properties to such structures. Great strides have been made in the relation of the molecular structure of the hereditary material to genetic function, and the "gene" has been subdivided so that we know something of its fine structure from both molecular and physiological standpoints. The means by which the genetic material regulates cytoplasmic activity are now being translated into molecular terms, and it is customary to ponder the means by which molecules derived from the nucleus may control the formation of proteins in the cytoplasm. Indeed, we are close to an amalgamation of morphological and biochemical inquiry in the sense that much of our knowledge of cellular structures is subject to interpretation in terms of macromolocular aggregates.

The progressive comminution of cellular function to finer and finer levels of organization has destroyed many of our older concepts as to how various areas of cellular function are related. We now find ourselves thinking of the regulation of cellular activity in terms of the interaction between metabolic systems and the influence of macromolecular structures upon this interaction. The task of relating this information on molecular interaction into a coherent image of cellular regulation is of major importance. Accordingly, during the planning stages of the lecture series from which these papers are derived, every attempt was made to regard the cell as a totality and with this consideration in mind, to arrange a series of topics that would cover those areas most pertinent to a comprehension of the regulation of cellular activity in terms of molecular action and interaction. It was our desire to examine these areas from a very general vantage point rather than to delve deeply into any particular aspect of the problem of cellular regulation. By this approach, it was . . .

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