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Cellular Origami Is Done By The Organism

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It was found by researchers at Stanford University that the single-celled protist Lacrymaria olor does a special kind of “cellular origami” called “curved-crease origami.” This amazing behavior lets the organism’s neck grow up to 30 times longer than its body in seconds. A complex structure of spiral microtubules and a thin, pleated membrane make this possible.

Discover Lacrymaria Odour

Manu Prakash and Eliott Flaum, two researchers at Stanford, spent seven years studying Lacrymaria olor and found out what made it behave in a way that no other organism does. The first thing that interested them was how quickly and correctly the protist could extend its neck. They called this behavior “lacrygami” because it looked like curved-crease origami. This important study showed that the cytoskeleton of the cell, which is made up of helical microtubules, allows this amazing mechanism for stretching and pulling apart. This is the first known example of cellular origami.

How Neck Extension Works?

Lacrymaria olor’s neck extension is a remarkable piece of biological engineering. It is made possible by the complex interaction of spiral microtubules and a pleated membrane. These microtubules are wrapped inside the cell’s membrane, which folds into precise pleats like origami. They act like skeletal ribs. This special arrangement lets the cell stretch its neck up to 30 times its body length in a matter of seconds. That’s about the same as a 6-foot person stretching their head 200 feet. The process is controlled by the shape of the cell’s cytoskeleton. The point where the membrane unfolds, called a singularity, always moves in the same direction, making sure that the cell always extends and contracts quickly.

Origami With A Curved Crease

A type of traditional origami called curved-crease origami is very important to the neck growth of Lacrymaria olor. In curved-crease origami, unlike straight-line folds, the microtubule structure of the cell creates pockets that make it easier to store and move materials. This process is not only interesting from a biological point of view, but it also gives us new ways to think about hyper-extensibility at the level of cells. The cell’s cytoskeleton controls the exact folding and unfolding process that makes sure the neck always stretches and retracts. This shows how geometry and biological function are intricately connected.

Uses Inspired By Biology

The ideas behind Lacrymaria olor’s cellular origami could change many fields for the better. Researchers think that the organism’s complex origami-like mechanism for extending and retracting its neck could lead to progress in robots and soft-matter engineering. As an example, the efficient storage and deployment of materials seen in L. olor could be used to make deployable microscale living machines like space telescopes and tiny surgical robots. This finding shows how closely biology and geometry are connected and could lead to new ways of solving engineering problems.