Alternative ‘Fuel’ for String-Shaped Motors in Cells
Published:06 Jul.2023    Source:Technische Universität Dresden
Cells have a fascinating feature to neatly organize their interior by using tiny protein machines called molecular motors that generate directed movements. Most of them use a common type of fuel, a kind of chemical energy, called ATP to operate.
Now researchers discovered a novel molecular system that uses an alternative chemical energy and employs a novel mechanism to perform mechanical work. By repeatedly contracting and expanding, this molecular motor functions similarly to a classical Stirling engine and helps to distribute cargo to membrane-bound organelles. It is the first motor using two components, two differently sized proteins, Rab5 and EEA1, and is driven by GTP instead of ATP.
The model researchers used is inspired by that of the classical Stirling engine cycle. Overall, the authors hope that this new interdisciplinary study could open new research avenues in both molecular cell biology and biophysics.