Rotary biomolecular motor-powered supramolecular colloidal motor

Sci Adv. 2023 Feb 22;9(8):eabg3015. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg3015. Epub 2023 Feb 22.


Cells orchestrate the motion and force of hundreds of protein motors to perform various mechanical tasks over multiple length scales. However, engineering active biomimetic materials from protein motors that consume energy to propel continuous motion of micrometer-sized assembling systems remains challenging. Here, we report rotary biomolecular motor-powered supramolecular (RBMS) colloidal motors that are hierarchically assembled from a purified chromatophore membrane containing FOF1-ATP synthase molecular motors, and an assembled polyelectrolyte microcapsule. The micro-sized RBMS motor with asymmetric distribution of FOF1-ATPases can autonomously move under light illumination and is collectively powered by hundreds of rotary biomolecular motors. The propulsive mechanism is that a transmembrane proton gradient generated by a photochemical reaction drives FOF1-ATPases to rotate for ATP biosynthesis, which creates a local chemical field for self-diffusiophoretic force. Such an active supramolecular architecture endowed with motility and biosynthesis offers a promising platform for intelligent colloidal motors resembling the propulsive units in swimming bacteria.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Bacteria* / metabolism
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism
  • Motion
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases* / chemistry
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases* / metabolism


  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Molecular Motor Proteins