Edited by M. Schliwa
Molecular Motors. Edited by Manfred Schliwa
Copyright 2003 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim ISBN 3-527-30594-7
Edited by Manfred Schliwa
Prof. Dr. Manfred Schliwa Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Adolf-Butenandt-Institut Zellbiologie
Schillerstrasse 42 80336 München
This book was carefully produced. Never-theless, editors, authors and publisher do not warrant the information contained therein to be free of errors. Readers are advised to keep in mind that statements, data, illustrations, procedural details or other items may inadvertently be inaccurate.
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2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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Editors of compilations such as this tend to stress in their prefaces that significant conceptual advances have been made recently, that novel technical developments have opened extraordinary opportunities for unprecedented discoveries and that the time seemed ripe to take stock and to point out developments which will ad-vance the field in the near future. Well, all of this is true for this book too. It is also true that on such occasions we realize how much we have learned and yet how little we know. Since the publication nearly 40 years ago, of the landmark trea-tise on cell movement edited by Robert D. Allen and Noburô Kamiya and entitled Primitive Motile Systems in Cell Biology, the field has moved from the phenomeno-logical to the mechanistic and from the largely structural to the primarily molecu-lar. We have come to appreciate that at every level of complexity the cell operates through molecular machines. Some of these machines are single molecules that carry out one specific task, undergoing only small structural changes in the pro-cess. Others are macromolecular complexes composed of dozens, even hundreds of different components engaged in elaborate biochemical operations. Among the multitude of molecular machines of a cell, one group stands out owing to its ability to generate one of the hallmark characteristics of living systems: move-ment. The chapters of this book offer insights into the workings, interactions and functions of these remarkable molecules which are responsible for various forms of movement encountered in cells. The subdivision of the book into five sections developed naturally. First we learn about the basic designs of some of the most pro-minent cellular motors before considering their mechanochemistry; the role of mo-tors in the context of elaborate cellular activities is considered next, followed by ex-amples of defects which result when motors run ‘wild’; finally, biomotors are put into perspective with regard to nanobiotechnological applications and other types of molecular motors. The outcome is a pretty sizeable book, as can plainly be seen. Nevertheless, it is but an introduction to the subject, as other types of biolo-gical machines exist that could also, with some justification, be called motors but are not considered here for reasons of space. It is my hope, however, that salient features of cellular motors are covered even though gaps undoubtedly remain.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude first and foremost to the authors who have managed to complete their chapters under pretty tight time constraints. I would also like to thank the staff at Wiley-VCH, in particular Dr. Andreas