Biological Molecular Motors

Posted on June 13, 2006  Comments (0)


Image: The biomolecular portal motor of bacteriophage PHI-29 (yellow) compresses the coiled DNA into the viral capsid at 6,000 times its normal pressure. (courtesy the Bustamante group)

Start Your Protein Engines by David Pescovitz:

Oster and his research group investigate the physics and chemistry behind great engineering mysteries of the natural world, from protein motors to cell motility to how bacteria form thriving populations that aren’t so different from ant colonies, or even human societies.

Working with UC Berkeley professor Carlos Bustamante, researchers have also studied the motor that packs a virus’s DNA so tightly that it can be injected into a hijacked cell at ten times the pressure of a cork shooting out of a champagne bottle. And they’ve modeled the donut-shaped molecular motors that move along DNA strands during replication.

In the closing paragraph Dr. Oster is quoted on the use of models, which reminds me a the quote from Dr. George Box: All models are wrong, some are useful.

Other articles from from the most recent ScienceMatters@Berkeley: The New New Math of String Theory and Molecular Rules Of Engagement. Also see previous article: The Cellular Mechanic.

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