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Tiny molecules walk the track

Artificial walkers may one day haul microcargo

In one very small step for mankind, researchers have designed a tiny molecule that can walk on a track. Such artificial walkers may one day carry cargo purposefully, much like natural proteins in the body.

The new walking system, reported in the February Nature Chemistry, is “a pretty big leap forward,” comments chemist Charles Sykes of Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

In the body, motor proteins walk in one direction along molecular tracks inside cells, hauling their load as they go. These biomotors transport big loads, such as organelles, lipids and vesicles, to the desired destinations in the cell. 

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