Lost in translation

December 16, 2021

Mission control! Mission control! Do you read me? While these lines might first bring to mind a movie scene of astronauts frantically trying to contact their home base following a disastrous event in space, they might equally be applied to something a little closer to home—your own cells.

You can think of your cells like a little hive of activity, with proteins and other biomolecules going about their duties, working to keep the unit strong and healthy. And the main overseer—the mission control, if you will—is the cell’s nucleus. The nucleus sends a constant stream of messages in the form of RNA out into the cell, giving instructions and coordinating activity to keep everything running smoothly.

But what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when invaders come knocking? Say, perhaps a virus? Now the cell has a threat from the outside to contend with, and mission control must respond…if it can.

In this Quantitative Biosciences at Berkeley feature, read more from graduate student Leah Gulyas about interactions between hosts and viruses. Gulyas studies the behavior of the coronavirus, SARAS-CoV-2 in professor Britt Glaunsinger's lab.