(Picture: Purdue University)
Read aloud RNA molecules? the blueprints of the genotype strands? can probably be used for physical work. This is concluded by US researchers who succeeded in linking RNA molecules with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel molecules of the cells. In addition to fundamental knowledge about the development of early life on Earth, the researchers are looking for a nanomotor that could be powered by ATP. "The ATP bonds could drive a motor of six RNA strands, " says Peixuan Guo of Purdue University in West Lafayette. In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Guo and colleagues publish the results (PDF) of an experiment in which the RNA strands, like propeller blades, are arranged around a DNA molecule as an axis. For a rudimentary drive of this nanomotor, it is now possible to use the energy that ATP releases when breaking down a bond and forming ADP, adenosine diphosphate.

In addition to this approach to a molecular motor, Guo believes that the importance of RNA in the development of life must be reconsidered. "We are just beginning to understand the multiple functions of RNA. But it is possible that she plays an essential role in metabolism. In this case, RNA would play an even more central role in biology than we thought before, "says Guo.

Jan Oliver Löfken

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