Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Contribution of the C-Terminal Tails of Microtubules in Altering the Force Production Specifications of Multiple Kinesin-1

Mitra Shojania Feizabadi

The extent to which beta tubulin isotypes contribute to the function of microtubules and the microtubule-driven transport of molecular motors is poorly understood. The major differences in these isotypes are associated with the structure of their C-terminal tails. Recent studies have revealed a few aspects of the C-terminal tails’ regulatory role on the activities of some of the motor proteins on a single-molecule level. However, little attention is given to the degree to which the function of a team of motor proteins can be altered by the microtubule’s tail. In a set of parallel experiments, we investigated this open question by studying the force production of several kinesin-1 (kinesin) molecular motors along two groups of microtubules: regular ones and those microtubules whose C-terminals are cleaved by subtilisin digestion. The results indicate that the difference between the average of the force production of motors along two types of microtubules is statistically significant. The underlying mechanism of such production is substantially different as well. As compared to untreated microtubules, the magnitude of the binding time of several kinesin-1 is almost three times greater along subtilisin-treated microtubules. Also, the velocity of the group of kinesin molecules shows a higher sensitivity to external loads and reduces significantly under higher loads along subtilisin-treated microtubules. Together, this work shows the capacity of the tails in fine-tuning the force production characteristics of several kinesin molecules.

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