Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Scientists help find new kind of Molecular Motor


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Molecular Motor

Mains level: Not Much


Central Idea: Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences have discovered a new kind of molecular motor that has potential applications in biology and medicine.

What is a molecular motor?

  • Cells use molecular motors to move things like organelles and molecules, and disruption of these processes can lead to diseases.
  • Molecular motors use biochemical energy to do mechanical work.

What did the new study find?

  • The study found that EEA1, a long protein, can regain its rigid shape to create a new kind of two-part molecular motor.
  • EEA1 regains its rigid shape through a reaction called GTP hydrolysis, mediated by enzymes called GTPases.
  • The researchers believe this could mark a new class of molecular machines that operate as motors in a unique way with novel collective effects.

Why is the finding significant?

  • The motor is different from most motors because it doesn’t produce a lever-like back-and-forth action and it uses GTP instead of ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate) for energy.
  • EEA1 exerts an entropic force on the membranes that it pulls, which is a unique feature.
  • The finding could have potential applications for understanding membrane fusion and for many other mechanochemical proteins or assemblies.

What are the potential applications?

  • The discovery of the molecular motor could have potential applications in biology and medicine.
  • The study provides a general mechanism that is applicable to many mechanochemical proteins or assemblies that harness chemical energy for mechanical work in cells.



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