It sounds like something out of the Borg in Star Trek. Nano-sized robots self-assemble to form biological machines that do the work that keeps one alive. And yet something like this really does go on.
Cryo-electron microscopy combined with supercomputer simulations have created the best model yet, with near atomic-level detail, of a vital molecular machine, the human pre-initiation complex (PIC). A science team from Northwestern University, Berkeley National Laboratory, Georgia State University, and UC Berkeley published their results on the PIC May 2016 in the journal Nature.
“For the first time, structures have been detailed of the complex groups of molecules that open up human DNA,” said study co-author Ivaylo Ivanov, associate professor of chemistry at Georgia State University. Ivanov led the computational work that modeled the atoms of the different proteins that act like cogs of the PIC molecular machine.