by PhilipJ on 8 December 2005
ATP synthase is one of the wonders of the molecular world. ATP synthase is an enzyme, a molecular motor, an ion pump, and another molecular motor all wrapped together in one amazing nanoscale machine. It plays an indispensable role in our cells, building most of the ATP that powers our cellular processes. The mechanism by which it performs this task is a real surprise.
I’ll quip in here and add that biophysicists and nanotechnologists have been fascinated with the F0, F1 motors for quite some time now, going so far as attaching things to them to try and do work, forcing them to run in reverse, and, more recently, doing extremely high resolution studies to determine that there is a substructure to the rotation dynamics, involving pauses that are related to the symmetry of the motor!