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Motor Proteins

Proteins, Peptides and Amino Acids

  1. Charles L. Asbury1,3,
  2. Steven M. Block1,2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200400084

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Asbury, C. L. and Block, S. M. 2006. Motor Proteins. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

  3. 3

    Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, SA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

Abstract

Cellular motions have fascinated biologists during the 400 years since the invention of the optical microscope first allowed them to be seen. Today, we know that motions underlying the most essential processes of life—such as cell division, energy transduction, muscle contraction, DNA replication, transcription, and translation—are generated by molecular motors. A molecular motor is a protein, or a complex of proteins and nucleic acids, that produces motion and force. For fuel, many molecular motors consume nucleotide triphosphates, breaking an energy-rich phosphate bond to release chemical energy, and then converting this into mechanical work. Other motors tap electrochemical gradients that exist across membranes within bacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. Motor proteins are Nature's nanomachines, and they often function with efficiency that far exceeds the best human-engineered machines.

Keywords:

  • Allostery;
  • Mechanoenzyme;
  • Processivity;
  • Substrate;
  • Working Stroke