An autonomously reciprocating transmembrane nanoactuator

Matthew Watson, Scott Cockroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Biological molecular machines operate far-from-equilibrium by coupling chemical potential to repeated cycles of dissipative nanomechanical motion. This principle has been exploited in supramolecular systems that exhibit true machine behavior in solution and on surfaces. However, designed membrane-spanning assemblies developed to date have been limited to simple switches or stochastic shuttles, and true machine behavior has remained elusive. Here we present a transmembrane nanoactuator that turns over chemical fuel to drive autonomous reciprocating (back-and-forth) nanomechanical motion. Ratcheted reciprocating motion of a DNA/PEG copolymer threaded through a single alpha-hemolysin pore was induced by a combination of DNA strand displacement processes and enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Ion current recordings revealed saw-tooth patterns indicating that the assemblies operated in autonomous, asymmetric cycles of conformational change at rates of up to 1 cycle per minute.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1349
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • nanopores
  • molecular machines
  • single-molecule studies
  • nanotechnology
  • non-equilibrium processes


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