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Synthetic kinesin analogues: A transition metal complex that can walk


The goal of the research project proposed is to design, synthesise, operate and fully characterize a wholly synthetic molecular machine mimicking the mechanical action of the kinesin motor protein, namely unidirectional, hand-over-hand (also known as “passing leg”), mechanically processive motion to propel a molecule along a pre-defined molecular “track”. To accomplish this purpose, two sets of kinetically stable binding units must be present on the walker unit. These two units must have orthogonal binding requirements and the relative binding affinities of one of the units within the binding points along the track must be switchable by a stimulus that does not affect the other binding unit.
To mimic the kinesin action in a synthetic molecular system, metal-binding events of the motor molecule along the functionalized track are exploited to control the thermodynamics and kinetics of biased Brownian motion in a functional molecular system. In concrete, the binding units of the walker contain two metallic centres, a palladium(II) complex and a platinum(II) complex, which can undergo a proton-mediated ligand exchange based on two orthogonal mechanisms, because while the exchange of the palladium(II) complexes is achieved thermally, the one of the platinum(II) centres is photochemical.
This system can be considered a part of the state-of-the-art interest to develop wholly artificial chemical systems which display the propety of sequential processivity. The novelty is that the proposed system is based on a pH-dependant ligand exchange on Pd(II) and Pt(II) complexes, which is expected to result in a highly directional movement under termodynamic control.

Call for proposal

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Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 200 549,60