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Biotech

Molecular Motors on the Run 15

Roland Piquepaille writes "In the nanotech world, molecular 'motors' have been heavily investigated during the last decade. And you probably read that these nano-carriers will one day be able to move a useful drug right where it's needed inside your body. But think for a minute to the size gap between yourself and a molecule. It's pretty impressive! Now, according to this news release, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany have developed a theory stating that only a few motor molecules should be enough for directed transport over centimeters or even meters. It's probably a meaningless comparison, but it's like if you were able to walk to the moon and come back."
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Molecular Motors on the Run

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  • I always thought it was odd how fast small objects move relative to their size....
  • Typical article from the Piq, completely fails to summarise a complex scientific discovery in the most verbose way possible.
  • I want you all to give a wonderful round of applause for the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. Next, lets hear from the Society of Silly People who Walk Funny!
  • Synthetic analogue (Score:5, Informative)

    by w.timmeh ( 906406 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @12:35AM (#14049828)
    A good example of a molecular motor is ATP-synthase [wikipedia.org], a naturally occurring enzyme in photosynthetic plants and bacteria. It is driven by a pH gradient formed due to the splitting of water and charge separation actions of the photosystems, although it can be forced to operate in reverse, by supplying an excess of ATP.

    The enzyme itself is elegant [yu.edu], consisting of a rotating and a stationary segment, and has been the subject of much research by scientists eager to replicate its 'mechanics' into a synthetic cargo-carrying molecular machine, similar to those discussed in the article. Unfortunately, the last I heard imitating nature was proving a lot more difficult than expected.
    • Basically, if this takes off, we'll all hear about it in the Cancer world. The problem with cancer drugs is that they kill just about every type of cell, not just damaged ones. So trying to get them to just target those damaged, cancerous cells is more than just a little challenge.

      Another way of looking at it is that every drug has side effects, and they usually result from the drug acting in places where we did not intend. Imagine cutting out most of these side effects. The state of medicine today wi

    • Actually, ATP-synthase is found in every living thing (AFAIK). It's what allows the mitochondria found in the cells of all animals, plants, fungi and protists to make ATP. Bacteria (as you mention) also have it. Non-photosynthetic organisms use the energy provided by breaking down more complex molecules (e.g. sugar) instead of the sun to create the pH gradient that drives the ATP-synthase.

      I don't know that I'd classify ATP-synthase as a molecular motor. It has moving parts, to be sure, but it doesn't

  • But think for a minute to the size gap between yourself and a molecule. It's pretty impressive!

    I think that would really read better as "It's pretty impressive, gosh darn it!"
  • If you RTA, it is only theory, and hasn't been proven. So, theories are a dime a dozen. I'll wait and see if someone can actually prove it THEN we can find an application. Seems a bit far off don't ya think?
  • Christ, now all those enviro-hippies will be really pissed off about unnecessary transportation, global warming, etc.!

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!

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