Martin Karplus (2016) - Motion: Hallmark of Life. From Marsupials to Molecules

Martin Karplus (2016)

Motion: Hallmark of Life. From Marsupials to Molecules

Martin Karplus (2016)

Motion: Hallmark of Life. From Marsupials to Molecules

Abstract

The lecture will present an intellectual path from the role of motion in animals to the molecules that make the motion possible. Motion is usually a way of distinguishing live animals from those that are not, but not always. Just as for the whole animal, motion is an essential part of the function of the cellular components. What about the molecules themselves? Does motion distinguish animate from inanimate molecules? For animals to move, they require energy, which is obtained primarily by using oxygen. So how are whales and dolphins able to use their muscles to dive to great depths, where oxygen is not available? The immediate energy source for muscle function is the molecule ATP. Nature, by evolution, has developed a marvelous rotary nanomotor for the generation of this molecule. Experiments and simulations, particularly those with supercomputers, are now revealing the mechanism of this nanomotor and other cellular machines.

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