Molecular energy transducers of the living cell. Proton ATP synthase: a rotating molecular motor
The free energy released upon the enzymatic hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the main source of energy for the functioning of the living cell and all multicellular organisms. The overwhelming majority of ATP molecules are formed by proton ATP synthases, which are the smallest macromolecular electric motors in Nature. This paper reviews the modern concepts of the molecular structure and functioning of the proton ATP synthase, and real-time biophysical experiments on the rotation of the ’rotor’ of this macromolecular motor. Some mathematical models describing the operation of this nanosized macromolecular machine are described.