DNA polymerase as a molecular motor and pump

Samudra Sengupta, Michelle M. Spiering, Krishna K. Dey, Wentao Duan, Debabrata Patra, Peter J. Butler, R. Dean Astumian, Stephen J. Benkovic, Ayusman Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


DNA polymerase is responsible for synthesizing DNA, a key component in the running of biological machinery. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we demonstrate that the diffusive movement of a molecular complex of DNA template and DNA polymerase enhances during nucleotide incorporation into the growing DNA template. The diffusion coefficient of the complex also shows a strong dependence on its inorganic cofactor, Mg2+ ions. When exposed to gradients of either nucleotide or cofactor concentrations, an ensemble of DNA polymerase complex molecules shows collective movement toward regions of higher concentrations. By immobilizing the molecular complex on a patterned gold surface, we demonstrate the fabrication of DNA polymerase-powered fluid pumps. These miniature pumps are capable of transporting fluid and tracer particles in a directional manner with the pumping speed increasing in the presence of the cofactor. The role of DNA polymerase as a micropump opens up avenues for designing miniature fluid pumps using enzymes as engines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2410-2418
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 25 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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