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Mol Cell. 2002 Apr;9(4):903-9.

A mechanism for microtubule depolymerization by KinI kinesins.

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Department of Cell Biology, CB227, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Whereas most kinesins motor along microtubules, KinI kinesins are microtubule depolymerizing machines. Surprisingly, we found that a KinI fragment consisting of only the motor core is capable of ATP-dependent depolymerization. The motor binds along microtubules in all nucleotide states, but in the presence of AMPPNP, microtubule depolymerization also occurs. Structural characterization of the products of AMPPNP-induced destabilization revealed a snapshot of the disassembly machine in action as it precisely deformed a tubulin dimer. While conventional kinesins use the energy of ATP binding to execute a "powerstroke," KinIs use it to bend the underlying protofilament. Thus, the relatively small class-specific differences within the KinI motor core modulate a fundamentally conserved mode of interaction with microtubules to produce a unique depolymerizing activity.

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