Creation of an artificial muscle that responds to artificial protein by UC Santa Barbara scientists


We have only begun to understand a biological motor. Cells are composed of biological filament system called the cytoskeleton, which very much resembles the bricks used to build a brick and mortar house. These tiny marvels are precise machines that run all the functions of a living being with a regular daily rythm, day after day, 24 hours a day. It runs on energy called ATP. That is very much like how electricity runs the house lights or a gallon of gas runs a car motor, in the same way, a living cell, be it a plant or animal requires energy in the form of ATP to run it’s “motor”. Scientists have often wished to harness this cellular energy. The health beneficial opportunities and fortunes to be made for the medical device manufacturers are only limited by imagination.

Discovery: Activating a Biological structure using a motor created with bacterial protein

On May 2012, a team of enthusiastic scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara have perfected a nano machine that runs on cellular ATP, well in a minute way. Olivier J. N. Bertranda, Deborah Kuchnir Fygensonb, and Omar A. Salehc, have demonstrated that they can trigger an artificial gel structure created with DNA building blocks that will respond to ATP and twitch. I hope I have access to a video soon to show it to you in action. For now, read more on:
1) Click “Scientists Build ‘Mechanically Active’ DNA Material That Responds With Movement When Stimulated“- if you want the Science Daily version;
2) Click “Active, motor-driven mechanics in a DNA gel” – if you want the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences dated Oct 8, 2012 version.

Did you find this research of value? Then do write to the team of scientists and congratulate them for their superb curiosity and ability to follow through and capture a vision of our future. Send them money too if it makes you happy. Your correspondence should be addressed as follows:
E-mail: saleh@engineering.ucsb.edu.

Here is a quote from their article:

Here, we describe the synthesis and characterization of an active gel using noncytoskeletal components. We use methods of base-pair-templated DNA self assembly to create a hybrid DNA gel containing stiff tubes and flexible linkers. We then activate the gel by adding the motor FtsK50C, a construct derived from the bacterial protein FtsK that, in vitro, has a strong and processive DNA contraction activity.

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