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Motor proteins, the things that make the cell work and divide

The motor proteins are proteins from within our cells that have the role of carrying cellular material around the cell (food, signaling molecules, genetic information). It uses the cells highway system called microtubule cytoskeleton created from a protein called tubulin. This cytoskelton gives the cells their structure.

One of the motor proteins Hank Green speaks about in this video is kinesin which has a head that can hold cargo, a middle area and two feet that can literally walk around on the tubes of the cytoskeleton.

Each motor protein’s foot uses ATP, adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that floats in the cell. When one foot grabs a molecule of ATP it changes shape and then it swings forward. A motor protein can travel with a speed of 1 micrometer/second.

This speed is too small for the nerve cell from our foot, which has a length of about 1 meter, but luckily the motor proteins can travel down this length even in 1-2 hours.

But how to motor proteins help cells divide? They simply job in one place until the microtubules from the cytoskeleton roll along and then break.

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