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Cell. 2011 Apr 29;145(3):339-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.04.007.

Protease power strokes force proteins to unfold.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


ATP-dependent proteases degrade proteins in the cytosol of cells. Two recent articles, by Aubin-Tam et al. (2011) and Maillard et al. (2011 [this issue]), use single-molecule optical tweezers to show directly that these molecular machines use the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to mechanically unfold and translocate its substrates into the proteolytic chamber.

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