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Structural Motility

Life is driven by awe-inspiring coordinated movements observed in cells and tissues. In each cell, nm-size molecular motor proteins contribute to these movements as they power numerous mechanical processes with precision and complex orchestration. For the multiple functions that an eukaryotic cell accomplish, motility is essential both at molecular and cellular scales. Our goal is to study the principles underlying how motors convert chemical energy into mechanical movement and how biological motor proteins have evolved to enable distinct cellular function, allowing distinct generation of force precisely activated in space and time. Targeting these nanomotors can be beneficial for human health. Allosteric sites for specific small molecules can act as activators or inhibitors of the force produced by these nanomotors, and we study drugs qualified as breakthrough therapy by the FDA, currently in phase 3 clinical trials against cardiomyophathies. While frequent sites of mutations in these motors can lead to disease phenotypes, high therapeutic potential of allosteric effectors is now established and we aim to extend this knowledge to treat other pathologies, such as cancer and malaria.

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