Nanotech 2011

Molecular Machinery from DNA (invited presentation)

A.J. Turberfield
Oxford University, UK

Keywords: DNA, molecular machinery


DNA is a wonderful material for nanoscale construction: its self-assembly can be programmed by making use of its information-carrying capability, and its hybridization or hydrolysis can be used as to provide energy for synthetic molecular machinery. I shall describe our recent work on self-assembled molecular structures and on molecular motors, including: · the mechanism for a free-running biped inspired by the motor protein kinesin, by which the catalytic activities of the two feet are coordinated to create a Brownian ratchet that is capable of directional and processive movement [1,2]; · an autonomous ‘burnt bridges’ motor that is capable of moving 16 steps (100 nm), with mechanistic details revealed by real-time atomic force microscopy [3]; · an autonomous walker whose behaviour on a branched track can be controlled by a pre-loaded molecular programme [4]. I shall also describe initial experiments on the use of autonomous molecular systems to control covalent chemical synthesis [5].

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