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Synthetic Molecules that Walk Down Tracks: The First Small-Molecule Linear Motors

Objective

The goal of this research project is to make the first synthetic small-molecule structures that can walk down tracks, mimicking the types of movement exhibited by the biological motor proteins myosin, kinesin and dynein. We propose to construct the first synthetic, mechanically processive, chemical systems from first principles; i.e. to design, synthesize, operate and characterize wholly synthetic small molecule structures that progressively advance directionally along a molecular track in response to stimuli. Different principles ( passing leg and inchworm mechanisms) for processive mechanical molecular-level motion will be developed and experimentally explored. With some designs it is envisaged that the walker units will be able to change direction or switch between pathways as a result of external signaling or the nature of the environment and, ultimately, be able to transport a cargo from one place to another on a surface. Sequential processive movement is unprecedented for wholly synthetic molecular structures and is the key requirement for making translational/linear motors that can perform tasks (transport cargoes from place to place or progressively exert a force) at the molecular level. Its successful demonstration would be a landmark accomplishment and mark a major new direction for synthetic supramolecular chemistry and molecular nanotechnology.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/nanotechnology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport

Call for proposal

ERC-2008-AdG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 786 108,26
Principal investigator
David Alan Leigh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (2)

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 786 108,26
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
David Alan Leigh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)
THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 470 292,74
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)