The physics of entropic pulling: A novel model for the Hsp70 motor mechanism

Rui J Sousa, Eileen M. Lafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Hsp70s use ATP to generate forces that disassemble protein complexes and aggregates, and that translocate proteins into organelles. Entropic pulling has been proposed as a novel mechanism, distinct from the more familiar power-stroke and Brownian ratchet models, for how Hsp70s generate these forces. Experimental evidence supports entropic pulling, but this model may not be well understood among scientists studying these systems. In this review we address persistent misconceptions regarding the dynamics of proteins in solution that contribute to this lack of understanding, and we clarify the basic physics of entropic pulling with some simple analogies. We hope that increased understanding of the entropic pulling mechanism will inform future efforts to characterize how Hsp70s function as motors, and how they coordinate with their regulatory cochaperones in mechanochemical cycles that transduce the energy of ATP hydrolysis into physical changes in their protein substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2334
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Brownian ratchet
  • Chaperones
  • Entropic pulling
  • Hsp110
  • Hsp70
  • J cochaperones
  • Motor proteins
  • Power-stroke
  • Protein translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The physics of entropic pulling: A novel model for the Hsp70 motor mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this