The covers of scientific journals are usually staid, snooze-worthy affairs. But every now and again, one displays a sense of humor. Take, for instance, the March 19, 2013 issue of Biophysical Journal. On its cover is a clear homage to the cover of Blind Boy Fuller’s LP “Truckin’ My Blues Away,” illustrated by Robert Crumb.
The cover is not the result of a psychotic break, however. Just as Robert Crumb’s character has his distinctive gait, so to does the journal cover subject, myosin V. Myosin V is one of a class of ATP-dependent molecular motors found in eukaryotic cells. These motors use ATP to “walk” in an exaggerated gait up or down a cell’s actin filaments, sometimes acting as a transport mechanism by dragging cellular organelles with them. Recent research suggests that myosin V, in particular, doesn’t perform transport functions so much as it tethers cellular vesicles — small functional blobs within a cell — near a cell’s periphery.
You can get a look at the
Here’s a video of a simulation of how myosin-V walks along an actin fiber, which should give you an idea of why the journal editors chose to illustrate myosin V in this particular manner
This video actually shows a different type of motor protein, called a kinesin, walking down a microtubule. So, different molecules involved, but it covers just how cool and dynamic the inside of a cell can be.