Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Nanobiotechnology Week Racing Cargo
31 March 2014

Racing Cargo

Our cells are bustling with traffic. Precious chemicals hurtle down microscopic tracks called microtubules pushed along by motor proteins, millions of times per day. Pictured on the left, a man-made network of red-coloured microtubules looks yellow-ish under a microscope – it’s been loaded with a cargo of green fluorescent proteins. On the right, a burst of chemical energy kick-starts motor proteins, sending the green cargo speeding towards the centre of the picture (bright yellow). This tiny rail system (roughly 1.5 billion times smaller than the London underground) took just seconds to assemble in a tube, using ‘instructions’ encoded in DNA. Self-assembling nanostructures might one day be developed for all sorts of uses, from industrial building materials to placement back inside living tissues, allowing the release of drugs at vulnerable ‘stations’ inside cancerous cells.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.