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UK's Guo Discovers New Class of Revolving Biomotor

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Published on May 1, 2013

A new class of revolving biomotor, discovered at the University of Kentucky, may lead to future man-made machines to pump DNA, RNA or drugs into cells. Previous studies have identified two types of biomotors: a linear motor and a rotating motor. But a March 2013 paper in ACS Nano by Dr. Peixuan Guo at the UK Markey Cancer Center proves a third—a revolving motor. He was looking at the motor that packages DNA into the shell of phi29, a virus that infects and kills bacteria. For 35 years scientists had been trying to prove this motor rotates, but Guo's team found the data doesn't support that. Instead of rotating, like the earth on its axis every 24 hours, this motor is revolving, like the earth around the sun. Guo's team hopes to create a synthetic version of this motor for nanomedical devices. These devices would be injected into the body, travel to diseased cells and pump in medication. He admits this sounds sci-fi, but his discovery of this revolving motor moves us one step closer to that future.

Produced by Research Communications at the University of Kentucky.

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