DNA based molecular motors

Physics of Life Reviews, 2008, 6, 250–266, doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2009.09.001 published on 03.10.2009
Physics of Life Review, online article
Most of the essential cellular processes such as polymerisation reactions, gene expression and regulation are governed by mechanical processes. Controlled mechanical investigations of these processes are therefore required in order to take our understanding of molecular biology to the next level. Single-molecule manipulation and force spectroscopy have over the last 15 years been developed into extremely powerful techniques. Applying these techniques to the investigation of proteins and DNA molecules has led to a mechanistic understanding of protein function on the level of single molecules. As examples for DNA based molecular machines we will describe single-molecule experiments on RNA polymerases as well as on the packaging of DNA into a viral capsid—a process that is driven by one of the most powerful molecular motors.

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