In the near future a bio-sensing nano-device developed by Arizona State University researcher Wayne Frasch could eliminate long lines at airport security checkpoints and revolutionize health screenings for diseases like anthrax, cancer and antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - and it will all happen with the world’s tiniest rotary motor.
Frasch works with the enzyme F1-adenosine triphosphatase, better known as F1- ATPase. This enzyme, only 10 to 12 nanometers in diameter, has an axle that spins and produces torque. This tiny wonder is part of a complex of proteins key to creating energy in all living things, including photosynthesis in plants. F1-ATPase breaks down adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine diphospahte (ADP), releasing energy. Previous studies of its structure and characteristics have been the source of two Nobel Prizes awarded in 1979 and 1997.
Dynamic connection: target DNA forms part of a bridge between molecular motor F1-ATPase (bottom left) and a gold nanorod.