Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

A Synthetic Molecular Machine Capable of Complex Task Performance: Processive Sequence-Selective Synthesis

Article Category

Article available in the following languages:

Molecular translation machines

A machine that transports, at the nano level, the information inscribed on a molecular tape or thread. Is this science fiction or science fact?

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

One area of great interest in nanotechnology is the development of what are known as 'nano-machines'. These machines are made up of any number of molecular components that produce quasi-mechanical movements (i.e. outputs) in response to specific stimuli (i.e. inputs). There are two main types of molecular machines: synthetic machines and the more complex biological machines. Synthetic machines are divided into two general groups – switches and motors. The first affect the state of a system and may appear to undergo translational motion, while the second influence the trajectory. The EU-funded project RIBOSOME MM aimed to demonstrate the successful operation of one of the first synthetic molecular machines capable of performing a complex task at the molecular level. Specifically, to transport the information inscribed on a molecular tape or thread. Project partners worked to mimic ‘translation’, the process through which protein is synthesised on the messenger RNA (mRNA) template. The project managed to establish a reliable synthesis for each one of the building blocks of the rotaxane-based molecular machine. RIBOSOME MM also completed a number of model studies focusing on the operation of the molecular machine in simple test systems involving one amino acid residue.


Nanotechnology, nano-machine, synthetic molecular machine, rotaxane

Discover other articles in the same domain of application