Molecular Biology Consortium, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
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The issue will cover the constraints imposed by the common rotary design of important biomolecular assemblies such as the ATP synthase, calcium-calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaMKII), DNA helicase, archaellar and bacterial flagellar motors. Multi-subunit interactions in these assemblies have evolved to tune cooperativity to specific functions. Remarkably, subunit stoichiometry in a number of these assemblies has evolved to vary for either dynamic adaptation to environmental stimuli or to increase diversity for colonization over a broad habitat range. An important consequence is the ability to remodel the intracellular or multi-cellular architectures in which they participate – mitochondrial membranes (ATP synthase), actin cytoskeleton (CaMKII) or biofilms (archaellar and bacterial flagella). Innovative microscopy methods, computational image analysis algorithms and theoretical models have driven investigations into the design principles of these rotary machines and the architectures that they regulate. There is a need to develop a common language and toolkit between the communities, working by and large as autonomous modules, on specific experimental systems. Exciting recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy and single molecule spectroscopies together provide an atomic level characterization of conformational ensembles that provide powerful constraints to refine and develop theoretical simulations and models. This issue will seek to achieve this aim by bringing together apparently diverse systems themed on their common architecture and dynamics.