It’s not a full moon…

© CNRS Photothèque/Patricia Bassereau
© CNRS Photothèque/Patricia Bassereau

…but a network of nanotubes from a giant vesicle seen under a fluorescence microscope. The cell’s various compartments are linked by fine membrane tubes to allow the targeted transport of molecules – and hence of information. To identify the key mechanisms and physical parameters involved, scientists have reconstructed an in vitro model system of membrane nanotubes pulled by molecular motors.

Understanding the formation and dynamics of such systems could herald some very interesting nanoscience applications.