NANOMOT: Synthetic Biomimetic Nanoengines: a Modular Platform for Engineering of Nanomechanical Actuator Building Blocks

Duration: 46 months

Coordinator: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (Germany)


Contact Person:

Dr. Helmut Grubmüller
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V.
Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Department of Theoretical and Computer Based Biophysics
Am Fassberg 11
37077 Göttingen, Germany
tel: +49 551 20 12 300
fax: +49 551 20 12 302


  • Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spain)
  • Universität Osnabrück (Germany)
  • Universität Basel (Switzerland)
  • Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)
  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (Switzerland)


Project Description:

The mission of NANOMOT is to engineer sub-cellular building blocks that can be flexibly assembled into robust biomimetic nanoengines and nano-labs with controllable functionality not found in nature. It will study the components of biological nanomotors and explore their potential to assemble them in new ways and new functions. The single molecule lab-on-a-chip is one of the long-term application visions that drive NANOMOT; chemical nanoreactors and nano-actuators are mid-term visions. NANOMOT will master control over three nanomotors developed by nature, (a) the F0F1 ATPase, 29 viral head tail connector, and (c) the flagellar motor. NANOMOT will (b) provide flexible, robust, and adaptable interface modules for the set-up of complex systems for new functionality. The three nanomachines have in common that either their structure and mechanism and/or their function have recently been characterized to unprecedented accuracy, providing the timely basis to now successfully move on into engineering new minimal systems that yield a particular behaviour. The success of NANOMOT will be evaluated by demonstrating that the new building blocks can be assembled into a highly specific molecular drug delivery device. By pushing the emerging field of bio-nanotechnology, our transdisciplinary synthetic biology approach links nanotechnology with structural biology and systems biology. Moreover, NANOMOT addresses the challenge to prepare the grounds for a new engineering field. To meet this challenge, NANOMOT assembles a unique high rank international consortium which in very close collaboration joins forces across the relevant disciplines, engineering, molecular biology, physics, computer science, chemistry, as well as across the required fields, protein and metabolic engineering, x-ray crystallography, cryo electron microscopy, single molecule spectroscopy, nano-optics, single molecule atomic force microscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations.

(source: Cordis Nest Pathfinder projects 2003-2006)