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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Modular Aspects of Kinesin Force Generation Machinery

William R. Hesse, Miriam Steiner, Matthew L. Wohlever, Roger D. Kamm, Wonmuk Hwang, Matthew J. Lang
The motor head of kinesin carries out microtubule binding, ATP hydrolysis, and force generation. Despite a high level of sequence and structural conservation, subtle variations in subdomains of the motor head determine family-specific properties. In particular, both Kinesin-1 (Kin-1) and Kinesin-5 (Kin-5) walk processively to the microtubule plus-end, yet show distinct motility characteristics suitable for their functions. We studied chimeric Kin-1/Kin-5 constructs with a combination of single molecule motility assays and molecular dynamics simulations to demonstrate that Kin-5 possesses a force-generating element similar to Kin-1, i.e., the cover-neck bundle. Furthermore, the Kin-5 neck linker makes additional contacts with the core of the motor head via loop L13, which putatively compensates for the shorter cover-neck bundle of Kin-5. Our results indicate that Kin-1 is mechanically optimized for individual cargo transport, whereas Kin-5 does not necessarily maximize its mechanical performance. Its biochemical rates and enhanced force sensitivity may instead be beneficial for operation in a group of motors. Such variations in subdomains would be a strategy for achieving diversity in motility with the conserved motor head.
DOI
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