Researchers use semiconductor nanospheres to help measure motor protein forces and motion

Written by Ilana Landau (Future Science Group)

Researchers from the University of Tübingen (Germany) have described their use of germanium semiconductor nanospheres as probes to refine optical tweezer technology and allow for the ultraresolution force measurement of kinesin motor proteins. Motor proteins – such as kinesins – generate forces required to power intracellular processes such as the transportation of ‘cargo-loaded’ vesicles and are also key for processes including cell division. Optical tweezers have previously been used to measure the motion and forces of molecular machines, simultaneously, at the nanoscale. However, limitations associated with their resolution arise. “If we know how kinesin motors work in detail, we can...

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