Synthetic Molecular Walkers

  • David A. Leigh
  • Urszula Lewandowska
  • Bartosz Lewandowski
  • Miriam R. Wilson
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 354)

Abstract

In biological systems, molecular motors have been developed to harness Brownian motion and perform specific tasks. Among the cytoskeletal motor proteins, kinesins ensure directional transport of cargoes to the periphery of the cell by taking discrete steps along microtubular tracks. In the past decade there has been an increasing interest in the development of molecules that mimic aspects of the dynamics of biological systems and can became a starting point for the creation of artificial transport systems.

To date, both DNA-based and small-molecule walkers have been developed, each taking advantage of the different chemistries available to them. DNA strollers exploit orthogonal base pairing and utilize strand-displacement reactions to control the relative association of the component parts. Small-molecule walkers take advantage of the reversibility of weak noncovalent interactions as well as the robustness of dynamic covalent bonds in order to transport molecular fragments along surfaces and molecular tracks using both diffusional processes and ratchet mechanisms. Here we review both types of synthetic systems, including their designs, dynamics, and how they are being used to perform functions by controlled mechanical motion at the molecular level.

Keywords

Diffusion processes DNA machines DNA motors DNA walkers Dynamic covalent chemistry Michael addition Molecular machines Molecular motors Molecular walkers One-dimensional random walk 

Abbreviations

AFM

Atomic force microscopy

AQ

Anthraquinone

ATP

Adenosine-5′-triphosphate

bp

Base pair(s)

CD

α-Cyclodextrin

DCC

Dynamic covalent chemistry; also dynamic combinatorial chemistry

DMSO

Dimethylsulfoxide

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid

DNAs

Deoxyribonucleic acids

DTA

9,10-Dithioanthracene

E

(Entgegen); opposite

ESI

Electrospray ionisation

ETAC

Equilibrium transfer alkylating cross-linking reagent(s)

h

Hour

HJ

Holliday junction

HS

High speed

Hz

Hertz

K

Kelvin

meV

Millielectron volt(s)

mM

Millimolar

MS

Mass spectrometry

nm

Nanometer(s)

NMR

Nuclear magnetic resonance

PQ

Pentaquinone

PT

Pentacenetetrone

RNA

Ribonucleic acid

s

Second(s)

STM

Scanning tunnelling microscopy

Z

(Zusammen); together

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Leigh
    • 1
  • Urszula Lewandowska
    • 1
  • Bartosz Lewandowski
    • 1
  • Miriam R. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ChemistryUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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