Molecular motors are nonequilibrium open systems that convert chemical energy to mechanical work. Their energetics are essential for various dynamic processes in cells, but largely remain unknown because fluctuations typically arising in small systems prevent investigation of the nonequilibrium behavior of the motors in terms of thermodynamics. Recently, Harada and Sasa proposed a novel equality to measure the dissipation of nonequilibrium small systems. By utilizing this equality, we have investigated the nonequilibrium energetics of the single-molecule walking motor kinesin-1. The dissipation from kinesin movement was measured through the motion of an attached probe particle and its response to external forces, indicating that large hidden dissipation exists. In this short review, aiming to readers who are not familiar with nonequilibrium physics, we briefly introduce the theoretical basis of the dissipation measurement as well as our recent experimental results and mathematical model analysis and discuss the physiological implications of the hidden dissipation in kinesin. In addition, further perspectives on the efficiency of motors are added by considering their actual working environment: living cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology