On the hydrodynamics of swimming enzymes
Wolynes, Peter G.
Several recent experiments suggest that rather generally the diffusion of enzymes may be augmented through their activity. We demonstrate that such swimming motility can emerge from the interplay between the enzyme energy landscape and the hydrodynamic coupling of the enzyme to its environment. Swimming thus occurs during the transit time of a transient allosteric change. We estimate the velocity during the transition. The analysis of such a swimming motion suggests the final stroke size is limited by the hydrodynamic size of the enzyme. This limit is quite a bit smaller than the values that can be inferred from the recent experiments. We also show that one proposed explanation of the experiments based on reaction heat effects can be ruled out using an extended hydrodynamic analysis. These results lead us to propose an alternate explanation of the fluorescence correlation measurements.