Unique Hand-Over-Hand Rotation Transports Molecules Through Cells
Within every neuron is a vast protein trail system traversed by a small protein engine called Myosin V. The long-standing question of how this molecule moves may have finally been resolved by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Their findings, presented in this weeks issue of Nature, show how myosin V can move hand-over-hand on tracks, composed of a protein called actin, without completely letting go at any point. According to the researchers, myosin V offers a fascinating example of how cells convert chemical energy into motion, and may offer a natural example of molecular motors for the purposes of nanotechnology.
"There are a number of theories on how this molecule moves. What concerned me was how this little myosin motor can move along the track without letting go and floating off into the cytoplasm of the cell," said Yale E. Goldman, MD, PhD, professor in Penns Department of Physiology and director of the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute (PMI). "It turns out that myosin tilts as it steps along the actin track - one head attaches to the track and then the molecule rotates allowing the other head to attach - much like a child on a playground crosses the monkey-bars hand-over-hand."
Greg Lester | University of Pennsylvania Medic
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