Scientists have successfully shown how the ultrafast processes by which proteins do their work can be studied with free-electron X-ray lasers. As a model organism, they used a simple microbe that can convert light into chemical energy.
The cell's internal skeleton undergoes constant restructuring. Physicists show that its associated proteins can be efficiently transported to their sites of action by diffusion - provided they can be arrested when they get there.
Bacteria are programmed using synthetic biology to release gas to report when they exchange DNA through horizontal gene transfer, the process by which organisms share genetic traits without a parent-to-child relationship.