The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Justin E. Molloy

Unpicking molecular machines using optical and magnetic tweezers

Justin E. Molloy
The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

Molecular machines are biological macromolecules that convert chemical energy into mechanical work. The source of chemical energy usually derives from the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to ADP and inorganic phosphate. Each round of ATP hydrolysis releases the equivalent of 100pN.nm of mechanical work (-60kJ/mol). Since the size of a molecular machine is on the nanometre length-scale the forces they generate are in the range of a few picoNewtons. Several physical techniques have been developed in order to measure these small forces and movements and study individual molecules while they are at work. In this talk, I will discuss some of the experimental work that we have done using various optically-based techniques in order to understand how myosin motors walk along actin filaments and DNA processing enzymes bind and cut DNA.

Chairperson: Inari Kursula, Department of Biomedicine