Thursday, August 18, 2011
Carnegie Mellon Scientists Discover How Molecular Motors Go into "Energy Save Mode"The transport system inside living cells is a well-oiled machine with tiny protein motors hauling chromosomes, neurotransmitters and other vital cargo around the cell. These molecular motors are responsible for a variety of critical transport jobs, but they are not always on the go. They can put themselves into "energy save mode" to conserve cellular fuel and, as a consequence, control what gets moved around the cell, and when.
A new study by Carnegie Mellon biochemists, published in the Aug. 12 issue of Science, describes how the motors fold in on themselves, or save energy, when their transport services aren't required. According to the researchers, the solution to this molecular puzzle provides new insight into how molecular motor proteins are regulated, and may open new avenues for the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.
For more: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2011/august/aug11_molecularmotors.html