A 35-year-old mystery about the workings of the natural motors has been unraveled by scientists.
These motors are serving as models for development of a futuristic genre of synthetic nanomotors that pump therapeutic DNA, RNA or drugs into individual diseased cells.
Their report revealing the innermost mechanisms of these nanomotors in a bacteria-killing virus — and a new way to move DNA through cells — is being published online today in the journal ACS Nano.
In their ACS Nano paper, Guo, with his team Zhengyi Zhao, Emil Khisamutdinov and Chad Schwartz, challenges that idea. Indeed, they discovered that the phi29 motor moves DNA without any rotational motion. The motor moves DNA with a revolving in the same motion as the Earth revolving around the sun. "The revolution without rotation model could resolve a big conundrum troubling the past 35 years of painstaking investigation of the mechanism of these viral DNA packaging motors," the report states.