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Transmembrane Molecular Machines

Objective

This research programme is dedicated to the development of rationally designed transmembrane molecular machines. Proteins that undergo nanomechanical transitions to facilitate transmembrane communication, or that operate as transmembrane pumps, rotary motors, and molecular transporters are ubiquitous in nature. Despite much progress in the development of solid-state and chemical nanomechanical devices such as molecular rotors, walkers and logic devices, no such systems have been developed that operate across lipid membranes.

Thus, by exploiting our knowledge of biological and synthetic supramolecular components we seek to construct some of the first ever transmembrane molecular machines built to man-made specifications. Mirroring the operation of biological transmembrane molecular machines, compartmentalisation facilitates the construction of nanomechanical devices that can be driven by electrochemical gradients, or those that operate in the reverse sense by turning over chemical fuels to establish non-equilibrium conditions. We intend to demonstrate these principles by combining nanopore-based techniques and DNA-recognition processes to assemble a range of membrane-spanning nanomechanical devices that can be operated, controlled and monitored down to single-molecule levels:

Project 1 – Transmembrane logic & signalling on the single-molecule level.
Project 2 – A transmembrane transporter.
Project 3 – A transmembrane reciprocating pump.
Project 4 – A transmembrane rotary motor.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 469 780
Principal investigator
Scott Cockroft (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Alan Kennedy (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (2)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 469 780
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Scott Cockroft (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Alan Kennedy (Mr.)
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 30 000
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Elke Lammertyn (Dr.)