A single-celled organism that walks on surfaces using 14 “legs” seems to control these legs with a mechanical computer made of fibres called microtubules. The finding might help explain how many other single-celled organisms engage in extraordinarily sophisticated behaviours despite having no brain or nervous system.
“If you can make a computer out of microtubules, you can make the case for looking for them in many other cell types,” says team member Wallace Marshall at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study began when Ben Larson, also at UCSF, noticed that the cells he was trying …
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