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From Natural to Artificial Molecular Machines

Djuro Koruga*

Molecular Machines Research Center, University of Belgrade

This is an abstract for a presentation given at the
Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


To learn from molecular biology to developt nanotechnology we have been studying clathrin and microtubules since 1978. Clathrin is a fullerene-like protein which was discovered in 1969 by Kanaseki and Kadota[1]. Clathrins are the major components of CV (coated vesicles) important organelles for intracellular material transfer including synaptic neurotransmitter release. Neural cells (neurons) contain clathrin with 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons (as molecule C60), with diameters of 70-80 nm. However, liver cells contain clathrin with 30 hexagons, while fibroblasts have clathrin with 60 hexgons (like higher fullerenes). Most neuronal clathrins are concentrated in synapses, most of them associated with microtubules (MT) [2].

MT is an carbon nanotube-like protein polymer present in all eukaryotic cells. They are composed of equimolar amounts of the two globular subunits, each having a similar amino acid composition and a similar overall shape. The subunits of tubulin molecules are assembled into long tubular structures with an average exterior diameter of 25-30 nm, capable of changes of length by assembly or disassembly of their subunits. Bearing in mind that both biomolecules (clathrin and microtubules) and fullerenes have same principle of structure and energy optimisation it will be benefit to understand self-assembly mechanism of biomolecules and applied to fullerene systems.

Key point in our approach is to develop intelligent molecular control system [3]. We start to do research from optimal control of the Schroedinger eguation. Contemporary research on neural networks, both biological and artificial, can hence find crucial applications in building controllers with "brain-like capabilities". However, fullerenes in solution can be intelligent solvent and carbon nabotube cytoskeleton of artificial intelligent cell.


[1] Kamaseki, T. and Kadota K., The "vesicle in a basket", J. Cell Biol. 42:202-220, 1969.
[2] Dustin,P. Microtubules, 2nd Revised Ed., Springer, Berlin, 1984.
[3] Koruga , D. et al, Fullerene C60; History, physics, nanobiology, nanotechnology, North-Holland (Elsevier), 1993.

*Corresponding Address:
Djuro Koruga
Molecular Machines Research Center, University of Belgrade
27. Marta 80, Belgrade, YU


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