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A Design Exploration of Genetically Engineered Myosin Motors

[+] Author Affiliations
Paul F. Egan, Philip R. LeDuc, Jonathan Cagan

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Christian Schunn

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. DETC2011-48568, pp. 1017-1025; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 37th Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5482-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


As technology advances, there is an increasing need to reliably output mechanical work at smaller scales. At the nanoscale, one of the most promising routes is utilizing biomolecular motors such as myosin proteins commonly found in cells. Myosins convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and are strong candidates for use as components of artificial nanodevices and multi-scale systems. Isoforms of the myosin superfamily of proteins are fine-tuned for specific cellular tasks such as intracellular transport, cell division, and muscle contraction. The modular structure that all myosins share makes it possible to genetically engineer them for fine-tuned performance in specific applications. In this study, a parametric analysis is conducted in order to explore the design space of Myosin II isoforms. The crossbridge model for myosin mechanics is used as a basis for a parametric study. The study sweeps commonly manipulated myosin performance variables and explores novel ways of tuning their performance. The analysis demonstrates the extent that myosin designs are alterable. Additionally, the study informs the biological community of gaps in experimentally tabulated myosin design parameters. The study lays the foundation for further progressing the design and optimization of individual myosins, a pivotal step in the eventual utilization of custom-built biomotors for a broad range of innovative nanotechnological devices.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Motors , Design



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