In Missouri, Gavin King and a team of scientists at the University of Missouri used an atomic force microscope to study the movement of the E.coli proteins. Unlike previous studies where proteins were frozen, the atomic force microscope allowed researchers to observe the proteins moving in a fluid environment that closely resembles their natural environment.
These findings provide basic knowledge on how a cell sends and receives material and information. For instance, a drug can pass through membranes in order to affect a cell, and similarly, some information must pass through membrane channels to exit the cell. While other cells besides E.coli may not have E.coli’s exact protein transportation system, King said a similar system exists in all cells.