Towards the application of cytoskeletal motor proteins in molecular detection and diagnostic devices
Over the past ten years, great advancements have been made towards using biomolecular motors for nanotechnological applications. In particular, devices using cytoskeletal motor proteins for molecular transport are maturing. First efforts towards designing such devices used motor proteins attached to micro-structured substrates for the directed transport of microtubules and actin filaments. Soon thereafter, the specific capture, transport and detection of target analytes like viruses were demonstrated. Recently, spatial guiding of the gliding filaments was added to increase the sensitivity of detection and allow parallelization. Whereas molecular motor powered devices have not yet demonstrated performance beyond the level of existing detection techniques, the potential is great: Replacing microfluidics with transport powered by molecular motors allows integration of the energy source (ATP) into the assay solution. This opens up the opportunity to design highly integrated, miniaturized, autonomous detection devices. Such devices, in turn, may allow fast and cheap on-site diagnosis of diseases and detection of environmental pathogens and toxins.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 21, Issue 4, August 2010, Pages 477–488