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Mol Cell. 2006 Feb 3;21(3):331-6.

Full-length myosin VI dimerizes and moves processively along actin filaments upon monomer clustering.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Myosin VI is a reverse direction actin-based motor capable of taking large steps (30-36 nm) when dimerized. However, all dimeric myosin VI molecules so far examined have included non-native coiled-coil sequences, and reports on full-length myosin VI have failed to demonstrate the existence of dimers. Herein, we demonstrate that full-length myosin VI is capable of forming stable, processive dimers when monomers are clustered, which move up to 1-2 mum in approximately 30 nm, hand-over-hand steps. Furthermore, we present data consistent with the monomers being prevented from dimerizing unless they are held in close proximity and that dimerization is somewhat inhibited by the cargo binding tail. A model thus emerges that cargo binding likely clusters and initiates dimerization of full-length myosin VI molecules. Although this mechanism has not been previously described for members of the myosin superfamily, it is somewhat analogous to the proposed mechanism of dimerization for the kinesin Unc104.

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