Friday, March 14, 2003

RNA motors (copy device with energy source)

Journal of Biological Chemistry, February 2003
RNA and the energy-beargin organic molecule ATP together form one of the strongest nanometer-size motors. Molecular biologists at Purdue University have found that in the bacteria-killing virus Phi 29, ATP can bind to and fuel a powerful motor made of six RNA molecules. The virus uses ATP-powered RNA to shuffle its genes. Researchers hope to devise machines that fuel themselves with organic molecules.

"I think RNA can be made to do mechanical work," said Dr. Peixuan Guo. "ATP binding could power a motor made of six strands of RNA, and we are now exploring the myriad possible applications of such a tiny mechanism."


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