Sharyn Endow, Ph.D.
PHOTO CREDIT: Duke University Medical Center
After having demonstrated how "molecular motors" move within cells, a team of researchers led by a Duke University Medical Center scientist now believe they have discovered the power stroke that drives these motors.
Molecular motors are proteins made up of amino acids like any other protein in a cell. Unlike other proteins, however, they move along cellular highways of tiny filaments, called microtubules, as they transport nutrients around the cell or herd chromosomes during cell division.
Malfunctioning molecular motors might be responsible for some diseases such as Down’s syndrome caused by incorrect distribution of chromosomes during cell division. By understanding how motors work, how they organize chromosomes and how they lead the cell through the division process, researchers hope to be able to understand what causes these diseases and how to prevent them.
Richard Merritt | Duke University Medical Center
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