Energetic Costs, Precision, and Transport Efficiency of Molecular Motors

Wonseok Hwang, Changbong Hyeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


An efficient molecular motor would deliver cargo to the target site at a high speed and in a punctual manner while consuming a minimal amount of energy. According to a recently formulated thermodynamic principle, referred to as the thermodynamic uncertainty relation, the travel distance of a motor and its variance are, however, constrained by the free energy being consumed. Here we use the principle underlying the uncertainty relation to quantify the transport efficiency of molecular motors for varying ATP concentration ([ATP]) and applied load (f). Our analyses of experimental data find that transport efficiencies of the motors studied here are semioptimized under the cellular condition. The efficiency is significantly deteriorated for a kinesin-1 mutant that has a longer neck-linker, which underscores the importance of molecular structure. It is remarkable to recognize that, among many possible directions for optimization, biological motors have evolved to optimize the transport efficiency in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


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