Biomolecular motors in nanoscale materials, devices, and systems
Biomolecular motors are a unique class of intracellular proteins that are fundamental to a considerable number of physiological functions such as DNA replication, organelle trafficking, and cell division. The efficient transformation of chemical energy into useful work by these proteins provides strong motivation for their utilization as nanoscale actuators in ex vivo, meso- and macro-scale hybrid systems. Biomolecular motors involved in cytoskeletal transport are quite attractive models within this context due to their ability to direct the transport of nano-/micro-scale objects at rates significantly greater than diffusion, and in the absence of bulk fluid flow. As in living organisms, biomolecular motors involved in cytoskeletal transport (i.e., kinesin, dynein, and myosin) function outside of their native environment to dissipatively self-assemble biological, biomimetic, and hybrid nanostructures that exhibit nonequilibrium behaviors such as self-healing. These systems also provide nanofluidic transport function in hybrid nanodevices where target analytes are actively captured, sorted, and transported for autonomous sensing and analytical applications. Moving forward, the implementation of biomolecular motors will continue to enable a wide range of unique functionalities that are presently limited to living systems, and support the development of nanoscale systems for addressing critical engineering challenges. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.