Martin Webb group

The molecular mechanisms of motor proteins

Motor proteins have essential roles in management of cells and are responsible for a wide array of movements, from muscle itself, where motion is along a protein filament of actin, to movement of proteins along DNA. The proteins share several common features in the way that they transduce the biochemical process of nucleoside triphosphate hydrolysis to the biological function. Particular stages of the nucleoside triphosphate hydrolysis cycle are intimately associated with conformation changes of the protein. These protein changes modulate protein-protein or protein-DNA interactions in a way that produces the biological function.

In a wider sense these proteins are representative of the large array of nucleoside triphosphatases that are involved in cellular processes. The energy of ATP or GTP hydrolysis is converted into other forms of energy or is used to provide some sort of molecular switch. Other examples include nitrogenase in nitrogen fixation, the calcium pump ATPase, elongation factors involved in protein biosynthesis and G proteins involved in cell signalling.

The general theme of our work is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of the processes involving such motor proteins. This also involves the development of new techniques to study processes of interest. It is also includes a number of collaborations, both within the UK and internationally.

An important feature of the research group is the type of core techniques used.

Selected publications

Our research themes

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