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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Opposing Pressures of Speed and Efficiency Guide the Evolution of Molecular Machines.

  • Author(s): Wagoner, Jason;
  • Dill, Ken
  • et al.

Many biomolecular machines need to be both fast and efficient. How has evolution optimized these machines along the tradeoff between speed and efficiency? We explore this question using optimizable dynamical models along coordinates that are plausible evolutionary degrees of freedom. Data on 11 motors and ion pumps are consistent with the hypothesis that evolution seeks an optimal balance of speed and efficiency, where any further small increase in one of these quantities would come at great expense to the other. For FoF1-ATPases in different species, we also find apparent optimization of the number of subunits in the c-ring, which determines the number of protons pumped per ATP synthesized. Interestingly, these ATPases appear to more optimized for efficiency than for speed, which can be rationalized through their key role as energy transducers in biology. The present modeling shows how the dynamical performance properties of biomolecular motors and pumps may have evolved to suit their corresponding biological actions.

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