Biophysicists at Stanford University have finally answered one of the most fundamental questions in molecular biology: How does the tiny motor molecule, known as kinesin, move across a living cell? According to the researchers, the solution to this longstanding problem will provide new insight into how motor proteins function, and may open new avenues of investigation for the treatment of cancer and various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers and Huntingtons.
The study, published in the Dec. 4 online edition of the journal Science, was co-authored by Steven M. Block, a professor of applied physics and of biological sciences at Stanford.
"Motion at the cellular level is a hallmark of being alive," Block said. "A fundamental question is, how did living organisms figure out how to move? The answer is they developed kinesin and several other very efficient protein motors. If kinesin were to fail altogether, you wouldnt even make it to the embryo stage, because your cells wouldnt survive. Its that important."
Mark Shwartz | EurekAlert!
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