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Cell. 2000 Jan 21;100(2):241-52.

15 A resolution model of the monomeric kinesin motor, KIF1A.

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Department of Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


A two-headed structure has been widely believed to be essential for the kinesin molecular motor to move processively on the track, microtubules. However, we have recently demonstrated that a monomeric motor domain construct of KIF1A (C351), a kinesin superfamily protein, moves processively, taking about 700 steps before being detached from microtubules. To elucidate the mechanism of its single-headed processivity, we examined the C351 -MT interaction by mutant analysis and high-resolution cryo-EM. Mutant analysis indicated the importance of a highly positively charged loop, the "K loop," for such processivity. A 15 A resolution structure unambiguously docked with the available atomic models revealed "K loop" as an extra microtubule-binding domain specific to KIF1A, and bound to the C terminus of tubulin. The site-specific cross-linking further confirmed this model.

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