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Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Nov;14(11):612-9.

Of rings and levers: the dynein motor comes of age.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Medicine, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA. koonce@wadsworth.org


After nearly four decades of investigation, the dynein motor is finally on the verge of revealing its inner secrets. This multisubunit ATPase participates in several important microtubule-based motilities in eukaryotic cells. Numerous recent articles have advanced the understanding of the dynein motor substructure and its mechanism of force production, revealing both similarities to other motors and some surprises. We are now in a position to summarize a basic blueprint for dynein. At its core, the motor is a ring-shaped object with two protruding levers: one engages cargo and might provide much of the force for movement, and the other interacts with the microtubule track. The activities of both levers are linked through nucleotide-dependent conformational changes in the ring.

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