Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Peixuan Guo

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven Van Lanen


Biological functions such as cell mitosis, bacterial binary fission, DNA replication or repair, homologous recombination, Holliday junction resolution, viral genome packaging, and cell entry all involve biomotor-driven DNA translocation. In the past, the ubiquitous biological nanomotors were classified into two categories: linear and rotation motors. In 2013, we discovered a third type of biomotor, revolving motor without rotation. The revolving motion is further found to be widespread among many biological systems. In addition, the detailed sequential action mechanism of the ATPase ring in the phi29 dsDNA packaging motor has been elucidated: ATP binding induces a conformational entropy alternation of ATPase to a high affinity toward dsDNA; ATP hydrolysis triggers another conformational entropy change in ATPase to a low DNA affinity, by which the dsDNA substrate is pushed toward an adjacent ATPase subunit. The subunit communication is regulated by an arginine finger that extends from one ATPase subunit to the adjacent unit, resulting in an asymmetrical hexameric organization. Continuation of this process promotes the movement and revolving of the dsDNA within the hexameric ATPase ring. Coordination of all the motor components facilitate the motion direction control of the viral DNA packaging motors, and make it unusually powerful and effective.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)