Penn Medicine

Education and Training

Structure/Function Studies of Molecular Motors

Molecular motors (dynein, kinesin, and myosin) are Nature's engineering masterpieces. These remarkable proteins use chemical energy (ATP) to generate mechanical force and motion, and in doing so, play key roles in nearly every physiological process. Muscle contraction is one of the most dramatic examples of motor function.

PMI members are determining - at the atomic level - how molecular motors use ATP to generate motility. Members use a combination of techniques to determine the ATP-induced structural changes in the motor that lead to force generation. These techniques include single-molecule spectroscopy, single-molecule force measurements, heterologous expression of mutant molecular motors, and transient biochemical kinetic measurements.

The following PMI Members at the University of Pennsylvania are investigating molecular motors:


Pennsylvania Muscle Institute
Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania
Director: E. Michael Ostap, Ph.D.

700A Clinical Research Building Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085 Phone: (215) 573-9758 Fax: (215) 898-2653