Inside the cell

Here’s a picture of ribosomes on an RNA molecule assembling proteins. You can even see that the ribosomes who’re ahead on the dna ‘tape’ have longer proteins hanging off

Main intuition for me is that cells are roughly “molecular bags” which inside have all sorts of molecules in different concentrations jiggling around together, and different molecules activate or interact with each other when they come into contact. Kinda like shaking up a a big bag of nuts and bolts or whatever, you’ll get some nuts screwed on to the bolts. In this way cells are stochastic molecular machines.

DNA transcription animation

Here’s an animation of dna transcription into RNA. All the jiggly blobs attached to the dna are examples of proteins.

Inside the nucleus animation

This one has more clips put together and more emphasis on how all the pieces fit together. Shows inside/outside the nucleus, and does a great job with the ‘jiggly mess’ of the inside of the cell. Great sense of scale in this one

This one has less to do with DNA but shows a TON of different processes going on. Also crazy sense of scale and variety. Not super important to know exactly what these mechanisms are but suffice to say they’re all representations of real systems chugging away inside you right now! 

Inner life of a cell animation

This also has lots of ‘cell membrane’ proteins, which are embedded in the outer wall of the cell (same way a window AC unit is embedded in the ‘outer membrane’ of your house). Membrane proteins interact with the outside and the inside in different w

Bonus: ATP synthase

This one is just a heckin’ cool so wanted to share it too: ATP synthase creates a tiny energy carrying molecule called ATP (which you may remember from high school bio). ATP is basically a battery that gets charged up[0] by ATP synthase, which is a membrane protein that acts physically like an outboard motor, spinning around and around and using that kinetic energy to charge up the ATP


  • ATP = adenosine tri phosphate (3 phosphates, all charged up)
  • ADP = adenosine di phosphate (2 phosphates, depleted)
  • ATP synthase clicks on a third phosphate group, which wis later popped off elsewhere to release energy. Like, idk, winding up the molecular version of a catapult, or ratcheting down a spring til it’s as compressed as possible, or something similar.