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One path to understanding energy transduction in biological systems

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Figure 1: Woods Hole Physiology Course, 1963.
Figure 2: Many of the contributors to the discoveries regarding energy transduction by myosins and the roles of myosins in nonmuscle cells.
Figure 3: Dictyostelium has a muscle-like myosin and membrane-associated actin.
Figure 4: One approach to an in vitro motility assay from a totally defined system.
Figure 5: The actin-activated myosin chemomechanical cycle.
Figure 6: In vitro motility taken to the single-molecule level using the physics of laser trapping.


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Discoveries in science are a community enterprise involving scores of investigators making pivotal contributions along the way. In this short essay, I have necessarily left out the names of many people who contributed to the breakthroughs we made on the workings of cellular motors. I thank all the members of my laboratory over these many years, with whom I have shared the joys of discovery. My mentors have my gratitude for their support and encouragement and for sharing with me their own ways of creative research. It has also been my privilege to share the excitement of discoveries with my fellow faculty colleagues first at the University of California–San Francisco and for the last 35 years at Stanford University. I also thank K. VijayRaghavan, S. Mayor and my colleagues at the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore for incorporating me into their inspiring and innovative scientific activities for the last ten years. And my immense gratitude goes to my family, first and foremost to my wife Anna for bringing her energy, keen intellect and unwavering support into my life. My daughters Rani and Serena carry on the values my parents imparted to me, and they, together with my erudite sons-in-law Dan and Dave and my 'cool' grandchildren Indira, Hana, Anjali, Alexander and Nathaniel, are the joys of my life. Our work would not have been possible without the generous financial support from the US National Institutes of Health and grants from the Human Frontiers Science Program.

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Correspondence to James A Spudich.

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Spudich, J. One path to understanding energy transduction in biological systems. Nat Med 18, 1478–1482 (2012).

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