Xue Fei, Tristan Bell, Robert Sauer
This is an electron micrograph of the molecular motor ClpXP caught in the act of recycling another protein. ClpXP is an amazing protein-wrecking machine at the nanometer scale, it breaks down damaged or no-longer-needed proteins by cleaving them into smaller peptide fragments. This highly regulated process prevents toxic protein accumulation within cells and regenerate building blocks for synthesizing new proteins. Visualizing how individual components of this complex interact in detail helps us understand how ClpXP and other related protein recycling complex work.