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Special Issue "Molecular Machines and Nanomachines"

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A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Material Sciences and Nanotechnology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2011)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Michelle Critchley

Therapeutic Delivery, NanoVentures Australia Ltd, Suite 201, 3 Chester St, Oakleigh, Victoria 3166, Australia
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Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Trevor Lithgow

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Building 77, Monash University, Clayton 3800, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 61 3 9902 9217
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Steven Langford

Department of Chemistry, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Melbourne 3800, Victoria, Australia
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanotechnology, and particularly research into nanomachines and molecular machines, represents an exciting area of translational research. It is a very hot topic.

Nanomachines are mechanical or electromechanical devices of nanometer size, and are largely in “research-and-development phase”. Current speculation has high hopes for the use of nanomachines in medical technology: whether to supply lost function to the immune system in detecting pathogens or as a smart surveillance system to detect toxic chemicals in our bodies or in our environment.

Molecular machines are devices within our cells that drive essential biological processes, with the component parts of these machines each contributing a partial function or structural element to the overall machine. The multiple components act together to enable a cellular function. Good examples include bacterial flagella, the RNA polymerase, and various protein transport machines that selectively transfer protein molecules across biological membranes. A current innovation in nanotechnology concerns the design and manufacture of synthetic molecular machines, which may or may not have a biological machine as inspiration.

The distinction between nanomachines and molecular machines is not always clear and our treatment of the “two” topics in this single volume is aimed at illuminating the complementary nature of these fields of research.

Dr. Michelle Critchley
Prof. Dr. Steven Langford
Prof. Dr. Trevor Lithgow
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • nanomachine
  • molecular machine
  • nanotechnology
  • molecular motors
  • nanobots

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Bacterial Motility Measured by a Miniature Chamber for High-Pressure Microscopy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(7), 9225-9239; doi:10.3390/ijms13079225
Received: 1 June 2012 / Revised: 3 July 2012 / Accepted: 10 July 2012 / Published: 24 July 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hydrostatic pressure is one of the physical stimuli that characterize the environment of living matter. Many microorganisms thrive under high pressure and may even physically or geochemically require this extreme environmental condition. In contrast, application of pressure is detrimental to most life on
[...] Read more.
Hydrostatic pressure is one of the physical stimuli that characterize the environment of living matter. Many microorganisms thrive under high pressure and may even physically or geochemically require this extreme environmental condition. In contrast, application of pressure is detrimental to most life on Earth; especially to living organisms under ambient pressure conditions. To study the mechanism of how living things adapt to high-pressure conditions, it is necessary to monitor directly the organism of interest under various pressure conditions. Here, we report a miniature chamber for high-pressure microscopy. The chamber was equipped with a built-in separator, in which water pressure was properly transduced to that of the sample solution. The apparatus developed could apply pressure up to 150 MPa, and enabled us to acquire bright-field and epifluorescence images at various pressures and temperatures. We demonstrated that the application of pressure acted directly and reversibly on the swimming motility of Escherichia coli cells. The present technique should be applicable to a wide range of dynamic biological processes that depend on applied pressures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Machines and Nanomachines)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Functioning Nanomachines Seen in Real-Time in Living Bacteria Using Single-Molecule and Super-Resolution Fluorescence Imaging
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(4), 2518-2542; doi:10.3390/ijms12042518
Received: 28 February 2011 / Revised: 7 April 2011 / Accepted: 11 April 2011 / Published: 15 April 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (634 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Molecular machines are examples of “pre-established” nanotechnology, driving the basic biochemistry of living cells. They encompass an enormous range of function, including fuel generation for chemical processes, transport of molecular components within the cell, cellular mobility, signal transduction and the replication of the
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Molecular machines are examples of “pre-established” nanotechnology, driving the basic biochemistry of living cells. They encompass an enormous range of function, including fuel generation for chemical processes, transport of molecular components within the cell, cellular mobility, signal transduction and the replication of the genetic code, amongst many others. Much of our understanding of such nanometer length scale machines has come from in vitro studies performed in isolated, artificial conditions. Researchers are now tackling the challenges of studying nanomachines in their native environments. In this review, we outline recent in vivo investigations on nanomachines in model bacterial systems using state-of-the-art genetics technology combined with cutting-edge single-molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. We conclude that single-molecule and super-resolution fluorescence imaging provide powerful tools for the biochemical, structural and functional characterization of biological nanomachines. The integrative spatial, temporal, and single-molecule data obtained simultaneously from fluorescence imaging open an avenue for systems-level single-molecule cellular biophysics and in vivo biochemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Machines and Nanomachines)
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Open AccessReview Advances Towards Synthetic Machines at the Molecular and Nanoscale Level
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(6), 2453-2472; doi:10.3390/ijms11062453
Received: 25 May 2010 / Revised: 9 June 2010 / Accepted: 10 June 2010 / Published: 11 June 2010
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1292 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The fabrication of increasingly smaller machines to the nanometer scale can be achieved by either a “top-down” or “bottom-up” approach. While the former is reaching its limits of resolution, the latter is showing promise for the assembly of molecular components, in a comparable
[...] Read more.
The fabrication of increasingly smaller machines to the nanometer scale can be achieved by either a “top-down” or “bottom-up” approach. While the former is reaching its limits of resolution, the latter is showing promise for the assembly of molecular components, in a comparable approach to natural systems, to produce functioning ensembles in a controlled and predetermined manner. In this review we focus on recent progress in molecular systems that act as molecular machine prototypes such as switches, motors, vehicles and logic operators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Machines and Nanomachines)
Open AccessReview Neural Membrane Signaling Platforms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(6), 2421-2442; doi:10.3390/ijms11062421
Received: 8 March 2010 / Revised: 3 June 2010 / Accepted: 9 June 2010 / Published: 10 June 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (313 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Throughout much of the history of biology, the cell membrane was functionally defined as a semi-permeable barrier separating aqueous compartments, and an anchoring site for proteins. Little attention was devoted to its possible regulatory role in intracellular molecular processes and neuron electrical signaling.
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Throughout much of the history of biology, the cell membrane was functionally defined as a semi-permeable barrier separating aqueous compartments, and an anchoring site for proteins. Little attention was devoted to its possible regulatory role in intracellular molecular processes and neuron electrical signaling. This article reviews the history of membrane studies and the current state of the art. Emphasis is placed on natural and artificial membrane studies of electric field effects on molecular organization, especially as these may relate to impulse propagation in neurons. Implications of these studies for new designs in artificial intelligence are briefly examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Machines and Nanomachines)
Open AccessReview Porphyrinic Molecular Devices: Towards Nanoscaled Processes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(4), 1878-1887; doi:10.3390/ijms11041878
Received: 5 March 2010 / Revised: 30 March 2010 / Accepted: 14 April 2010 / Published: 26 April 2010
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The structural, coordinative, photochemical and electrochemical properties of the porphyrin macrocycle that make them the functional element of choice in ubiquitous biological systems, e.g., chlorophyll, cytochrome P450 and hemoglobin, also contribute to making porphyrins and metalloporphyrins desirable in a “bottom-up” approach to the
[...] Read more.
The structural, coordinative, photochemical and electrochemical properties of the porphyrin macrocycle that make them the functional element of choice in ubiquitous biological systems, e.g., chlorophyll, cytochrome P450 and hemoglobin, also contribute to making porphyrins and metalloporphyrins desirable in a “bottom-up” approach to the construction of nanosized devices. This paper highlights some recent advances in the construction of supramolecular assemblies based on the porphyrin macrocycle that display optically readable functions as a result of photonic or chemical stimuli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Machines and Nanomachines)
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