Not Just ATP: Two-Component Molecular Motor Using GTPase Cycle Demonstrates Mechanotransduction

Binding of the Rab5(GTP) to EEA1 triggers a transition of the EEA1 molecule from a rigid, extended state to a more flexible, collapsed state. (Credit: Anupam Singh et al., 2023)

For most of us who haven’t entirely slept through biology classes, it’s probably no secret that ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the compound which provides the energy needed for us to move our muscles and for our body to maintain and repair itself, yet less know is guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Up till now GTP was thought to be not used for mechanical action like molecular motors, but recent research by Anupam Singh and colleagues in Nature Physics (press release) has shown that two GTPase hydrolase enzymes (Rab5 and EEA1) function effectively as a reversible molecular motor.

Although much of the heavy lifting in the body has shifted to use ATP with ATPases such as myosin and kinesin, GTPases have retained their functional roles in mostly signal transduction (acting as switches or timers), a tethered EEA1 enzyme performs mechanical force when a Rab5 enzyme (in its activated, GTP state) binds to it. Within e.g. a cell this can pull membranes and other structures together. Most importantly, the researchers found that no external influence was necessary for the inactive (GDP) Rab5 enzyme to separate and EEA1 to revert back to its original state, completing a full cycle.

This discovery not only gives us another intriguing glimpse into the inner workings of biological systems, but also increases our understanding of how these molecular motors work, opening intriguing possibilities for constructing our own synthetic structures such as protein engines, where mechanical movement is needed on scales which require such molecular motors.

(Heading image: Binding of the Rab5(GTP) to EEA1 triggers a transition of the EEA1 molecule from a rigid, extended state to a more flexible, collapsed state. (Credit: Anupam Singh et al., 2023) )

15 thoughts on “Not Just ATP: Two-Component Molecular Motor Using GTPase Cycle Demonstrates Mechanotransduction

  1. I know this will get deleted but…
    Rehashing the claims made by press releases for scientific papers is meaningful to a very few, and even for me who straight did my PhD studying ATPase (and some GTPase enzymes) this is written in incomprehensible gibberish.
    I’m not sure what selection process goes on picking these papers that get written up here but I have yet to see a single one that is anything but a small incremental advancement. Normal publication stuff. Nothing paradigm breaking or dogma shattering (and those do exist).
    Whatever. Website is free and mostly great so … eh. Nothing personal to author.

    1. Agreed, it is a poor article. But since it triggers my curiosity I consider it relevant. At the end of the day, after a proper research, I learned something. Goal’s reached.

  2. Oh, @craig, give us a break.

    Firstly: it didn’t get deleted. There’s one bunch which is even more unnerving than free speech fanatics, and that’s free speech paranoids “Help, we’re under siege!”.

    Yes, there are good reasons to moderate posts. It always comes at a (societal) cost, so the less, the merrier. Hackaday, it seems, doesn’t score that bad here.

    Secondly: having done your PhD, you might know that this stuff (aka science) advances a very small step at a time. For those interested, the Wikipedia [1] provides a nice starting point into GTP.

    I’ll keep reading those little articles here.

    Now go have some fresh air, I’ll do the same :)


    1. First- Just judging by the past when I criticize a HaD article. It gets “moderated” away. Literally all of my comments on another thread were deleted yesterday and the day before for unclear reasons. And every comment questioning why stuff got deleted (no violations of policy that I saw) was deleted as well. Not paranoia (wow. Haha) and what some private website sees fit is their prerogative. But annoying.
      Second. We’re saying the same thing. I know how publication works. I said as much. My critique was that if this article was impenetrable to even me (I know my arrogance) then it’s gonna be so far in the weeds for a tech website with a predominately tech readership that the article selection process needs some work. Or the writing needs some work. That you needed to go to wiki to figure stuff out yourself means the writer failed to provide a line or two of background. But what do I know I’ve only been writing scientific and popular press articles for two decades. You telling me you know what an EEA1 enzyme does? The editors (or commenters) can take that advice for what it’s worth. Probably nothing.

      Fresh air accomplished. Best.

      1. Since you seem knowledgeable (no irony or doubt intended), could you suggest some websites that do publish articles that are more accessible (yet not too superficial)?

        Details are actually appreciated, if they don’t get bogged down by very specialized terms or knowledge that requires reading yet another slew of other papers. So in other words, relatively self-contained articles.

        Any input would be appreciated :)

        1. Depends greatly. For mass-appeal stuff even Scientific American, or my favorite Sky & Telescope are very good but obviously it depends on what kind of science you’re interested in.
          For medical stuff- a bit harder but in general all the peer reviewed Big Names (JAMA, Lancet, NEJOM) have sections in the front with “news concentrates” or some similar thing where they give you a paragraph or two of important articles selected by the editors. I still am a member of the American Chemical Society and their news magazine C&EN has similar sections. That’s Chemical and Engineering News.

  3. Do none of you click spell-check or grammar-check before clicking Post?

    “…repair itself, yet less know is guanosine triphosphate (GTP)”
    Was that supposed to be ‘…less known is…’? I think so, but I had to read the sentence like 10 times to decide that was what it was supposed to be.

    “Up till now…”
    Am I cutting a vertical trough in some soil to plant something?
    Did you mean ‘Until now’?

    There are basic spelling and/or grammar mistakes in DOZENS of your blog posts from 2023.

    These are 3-5 paragraphs.
    Just read it over and fix the handful of mistakes before presenting it to the internet.

    Putting the right letters together to make words, and the right words together to make ideas is like, 90% of your job.

    It feels like people put more time and effort into writing comments than you folks do in your posts.

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