Werner Kühlbrandt How Does the Molecular Machine That Drives Energy Conversion in the Cell Membrane Work?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck Society
"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)
Max Planck Institute of Biophysics
"The Max Planck Institute of Biophysics focuses on investigating the structure and function of proteins that are embedded in cellular membranes. Membrane proteins functioning as channels, transporters, or molecular sensors mediate the exchange of matter and information of cells with their environment. Scientists at the Institute use electron microscopes and X-rays to determine the spatial structure of these proteins. In addition, protein function is characterized by electrophysiology, a technique which measures the electric currents and voltages generated when electrically-charged atoms (ions) flow through membrane proteins. As an ideal complement to the experimental characterizations, these molecular processes are also studied theoretically to develop quantitative descriptions and to gain a detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms." (Source)
Cells need to convert the energy derived from food to perform functions like muscle contractions. A “molecular machine” in the cell membrane plays a key role in this process. It works like a rotor and converts one component into another. In this video WERNER KÜHLBRANDT describes how the scientists used state-of-the-art electron microscopy to study the structure of this nanometer turbine down to the atomic level. The obtained data was then used to create a 3D model of the molecule. The surprising finding is the orientation of the rotor elements that goes against established knowledge of membrane molecule structure.
LT Video Publication DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10234
Horizontal Membrane-Intrinsic Alpha-Helices in the Stator a-Subunit of an F-Type ATP Synthase
- Matteo Allegretti, Niklas Klusch, Deryck J. Mills, Janet Vonck, Werner Kühlbrandt and Karen M. Davies
- Published in 2015