DNA polymerase as a molecular motor and pump

ACS Nano. 2014 Mar 25;8(3):2410-8. doi: 10.1021/nn405963x. Epub 2014 Mar 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage T4 / enzymology
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Movement


  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Magnesium
  • 2'-deoxyadenosine triphosphate