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Complete ON/OFF Photoswitching of the Motility of a Nanobiomolecular Machine

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journal contribution
posted on 27.05.2014, 00:00 by K. R. Sunil Kumar, Takashi Kamei, Tuyoshi Fukaminato, Nobuyuki Tamaoki
To apply motor proteins as natural nanomolecular machines to transporting systems in nanotechnology, complete temporal control over ON/OFF switching of the motility is necessary. We have studied the photoresponsive inhibition properties of azobenzene-tethered peptides for regulation of kinesin-microtubule motility. Although a compound containing a peptide having an amino acid sequence derived from the kinesin’s C-terminus (a known inhibitor of kinesin’s motor domain) and also featuring a terminal azobenzene unit exhibited an inhibition effect, the phototunability of this behavior upon irradiation with UV or visible light was only moderate. Unexpectedly, newly synthesized peptides featuring the reverse sequence of amino acids of the C-terminus of kinesin exhibited excellent photoresponsive inhibition. In particular, azobenzene-CONH-IPKAIQASHGR completely stopped and started the motility of kinesin-microtubules in its trans- and cis-rich states, respectively, obtained after irradiation with visible and UV light, respectively. A gliding motility system containing this photoresponsive inhibitor allowed in situ control of the motion of microtubules on a kinesin-coated glass substrate. It is expected that the present results on the photoresponsive nanomotor system open up new opportunities to design nanotransportation systems.