Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Inner workings of a cellular nanomotor revealed

In this rendering of the SecA nanomotor, the two pistons (coloured cyan and light green) await the arrival of a protein. Cylinders, arrows and loops make up the nanomotor’s mechanical parts. © T. Economou
In this rendering of the SecA nanomotor, the two pistons (coloured cyan and light green) await the arrival of a protein. Cylinders, arrows and loops make up the nanomotor’s mechanical parts.

© T. Economou

Abstract:
Our cells produce thousands of proteins, but more than one-third of these proteins can fulfill their function only after migrating to the outside of the cell. While it is known that protein migration occurs with the help of various ‘nanomotors' that push proteins out of the cell, little is known about their precise mechanical functioning. New research by Anastassios Economou (Laboratory of Molecular Bacteriology - Rega Institute) and his team reveals the inner workings of one such nanomotor, called SecA, with new clarity.

Inner workings of a cellular nanomotor revealed

Leuven, Belgium | Posted on February 5th, 2014

Protein migration is a fundamental problem in biology and is essential for life. Examples of migrating proteins include insulin (the absence of which leads to diabetes), antibodies (essential for combating infections), membrane channels (essential for neuronal cell function) and toxin-proteins (secreted by pathogenic microorganisms).

Migrating proteins contain chemical signals called signal peptides. These signal peptides act as postal addresses and direct exported proteins to the membrane for transport outside the cell.

In previous research, Dr Economou, in collaboration with Babis Kalodimos (Rutgers University), revealed how signal peptides bind to a specific cellular receptor on the membrane, which subsequently connects to the export channel leading out of the cell. This receptor was also found to act as a nanomotor, with two separate piston-like mechanical parts that somehow push proteins out of the cell. The exact mechanism by which this occurred remained a mystery. Until now.
Finely orchestrated

In the current study, published in the December issue of Molecular Cell, Economou and his team show how the SecA receptor moves to push proteins out of the cell: when a signal peptide makes contact, the two pistons become excited. They position themselves one against the other in a series of defined steps and modify their shape. This finely orchestrated series of motions opens the export channel and traps the exported protein inside it. In a final step, the two parts dissociate and the remaining single piston pushes the protein out in cycles of repeated motions.

The discovery adds a significant piece in the puzzle of exploiting protein migration to improve health. "Moving forward, this discovery will help us focus efforts to find specific antibiotics against harmful bacterial protein secretion pathways," says Dr Economou. "It also offers the possibility to optimise biotechnological production of human biopharmaceuticals by using microbial ‘cell factories' for secreting biopharmaceuticals. We will be pursuing these avenues in future research."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Professor Tassos Economou

32-163-79273

Copyright © KU Leuven

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The paper “Quaternary Dynamics of the SecA Motor Drive Translocase Catalysis” by Giorgos Gouridis, Spyridoula Karamanou, Marios Frantzeskos Sardis, Martin Alexander Schärer, Guido Capitani and Anastassios Economou can be accessed on the website of Molecular Cell:

Related News Press

News and information

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

National Conference on Nanomaterials, (NCN-2017) April 21st, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

Molecular Machines

First 3-D observation of nanomachines working inside cells: Researchers headed by IRB Barcelona combine genetic engineering, super-resolution microscopy and biocomputation to allow them to see in 3-D the protein machinery inside living cells January 27th, 2017

Micro-bubbles make big impact: Research team develops new ultrasound-powered actuator to develop micro robot November 25th, 2016

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future: Researchers from Russia and Ukraine propose a nanosized motor controlled by a laser with potential applications across the natural sciences and medicine November 11th, 2016

HKU chemists develop world's first light-seeking synthetic Nanorobot November 9th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Presents ARC-520 and ARC-521 Clinical Data at The International Liver Congress(TM) April 20th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Emergency Use Authorization for Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test: FDA Authorization for the Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test on the XPRIZE-Winning Gene-RADAR® Platform April 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

Wood filter removes toxic dye from water April 21st, 2017

Rice crew revved for Nanocar Race: Nanocar creator James Tour and team take on international competition with single-molecule marvel April 20th, 2017

Better living through pressure: Functional nanomaterials made easy April 19th, 2017

Announcements

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

National Conference on Nanomaterials, (NCN-2017) April 21st, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

Wood filter removes toxic dye from water April 21st, 2017

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles: UCR researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics April 19th, 2017

Better living through pressure: Functional nanomaterials made easy April 19th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Presents ARC-520 and ARC-521 Clinical Data at The International Liver Congress(TM) April 20th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Emergency Use Authorization for Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test: FDA Authorization for the Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test on the XPRIZE-Winning Gene-RADAR® Platform April 14th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project