Rattle and Hum: Molecular machinery makes yeast cells purr

11:02am, August 18, 2004

It's not just heart cells that beat; yeast cells also move to their own rhythm. While investigating the physical properties of yeast cells, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered that the cell walls were vibrating. They propose that it was the hum of the cells' internal machinery.

The UCLA team detected the vibrations while prodding the cells with an atomic force microscope. The instrument, used to analyze nanoscale structures, consists of a microscopic cantilever with a down-pointing needle sharpened to just a few atoms wide.

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