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Stochastic mechano-chemical kinetics of molecular motors: a multidisciplinary enterprise from a physicist's perspective

Author: Debashish Chowdhury
Url: http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.6070
Format: Ps, Pdf
Year: 2012
Category: Biological Physics
Pages: 370
Clicks: 1046

A molecular motor is made of either a single macromolecule or a macromolecular complex. Just like their macroscopic counterparts, molecular motors transduce input energy into mechanical work. All the nano-motors considered here operate under isothermal conditions far from equilibrium. Moreover, one of the possible mechanisms of energy transduction, called Brownian ratchet, does not even have any macroscopic counterpart. But, molecular motor is not synonymous with Brownian ratchet; a large number of molecular motors execute a noisy power stroke, rather than operating as Brownian ratchet. We review not only the structural design and stochastic kinetics of individual single motors, but also their coordination, cooperation and competition as well as the assembly of multi-module motors in various intracellular kinetic processes. Although all the motors considered here execute mechanical movements, efficiency and power output are not necessarily good measures of performance of some motors. Among the intracellular nano-motors, we consider the porters, sliders and rowers, pistons and hooks, exporters, importers, packers and movers as well as those that also synthesize, manipulate and degrade macromolecules of life. We review mostly the quantitative models for the kinetics of these motors. We also describe several of those motor-driven intracellular stochastic processes for which quantitative models are yet to be developed. In part I, we discuss mainly the methodology and the generic models of various important classes of molecular motors. In part II, we review many specific examples emphasizing the unity of the basic mechanisms as well as diversity of operations arising from the differences in their detailed structure and kinetics. Multi-disciplinary research is presented here from the perspective of physicists.

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