Monday, September 21, 2009

A functional role for vault particles in body snatching

Lydia Vilanova, Nuria Delajara and José Conrado
Finca El Palmeral, Elche, Spain

Body snatching is one of the worst experiences that alive beings can suffer, since snatched bodies usually end up devoured by their predators, confined in dark holes has a food reservoir for insect larvae, or transformed in an unemotional new being with no memory of oneself. Examples of body snatching are multiple in the animal kingdom, from the cruel chase of preys by spiders and wasps to the nocturnal snatching of lambs by the ferocious wolf. In addition, human body snatching has been widely documented along the last decades. In fact, a retrospective search using the 1001-DVD-Science Fiction Movies online database has revealed that body snatching after alien invasions is a recurrent theme in the recent human history, with more than a dozen of different versions and remakes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers currently in the video market (for an example of title transgression, see ultracuerpos). However, serious studies addressing the molecular events that take place during the process of body snatching are lacking. Vaults are highly organized ribonucleoprotein particles present in eukaryotes, whose function remains enigmatic. Our previous three-dimensional analysis of vault particles led us to hypothesize the possibility that vaults could play a role as molecular coffins for dead, snatched bodies (see CurrRevol 14/05/09). Now, using refined last generation OJIMETRIXTM ultrasensitive technology, in conjunction with DVD additive visualization in a high-definition 40-inches TFT plasma screen, we have compared the shape of vault particles at 3.5 A resolution with the shape of pods and other devices used for body snatching in movies from the recent past:

As shown, the visual combination of the movie artefacts analyzed in our study, including a corn pod-like and a cocktail shaker-like snatching gadgets, rendered an image with all the structural and geometrical properties of vault particles, as recently reported (EMBO J. 2009 Sep 24). Our observations indicate that: 1/ body snatching pods have evolved in the recent years from a rough corn-like pod shape to a more efficient cocktail shaker-like structure, which may recapitulate early vault evolution in the Earth; and 2/ modern vaults are the result of the endosymbiosis of ancestral body snatching alien beings with terrestrial engulfing phagocytic organisms. We propose a functional role for vault particles as intracellular body snatching molecular devices. The possibility exists that those molecules within the cell with more physiologic relevance and stronger personality, such as phosphatases (see CurrRevol 19/06/09), could be snatched into the vaults during invasion by foreign agents and converted into boring, dull-specificity enzymes whose only finality would be alien self-propagation.

1 comment:

  1. Dear researchers, thanks to all of you for turning the eating of delicious corn as well as the drinking of spirituous beverages into a disgusting experience from now on. The extra knowledge of alien invasion particles inside each and every cell in my organism is also a very comfortable thought. As a huge fan of science fiction films, my life has become a continuous nightmare. Did I say "thanks" already?

    To add another reference to your work, one must mention another review of this topic in David Cronenberg's "Shivers".

    Take care and enjoy your parasites.