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EMBO J. 2004 Jul 7;23(13):2459-67. Epub 2004 Jun 3.

Dynein and kinesin share an overlapping microtubule-binding site.

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Department of Cell Biology, Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas, Dallas, TX 75390-9039, USA.


Dyneins and kinesins move in opposite directions on microtubules. The question of how the same-track microtubules are able to support movement in two directions remains unanswered due to the absence of details on dynein-microtubule interactions. To address this issue, we studied dynein-microtubule interactions using the tip of the microtubule-binding stalk, the dynein stalk head (DSH), which directly interacts with microtubules upon receiving conformational change from the ATPase domain. Biochemical and cryo-electron microscopic studies revealed that DSH bound to tubulin dimers with a periodicity of 80 A, corresponding to the step size of dyneins. The DSH molecule was observed as a globular corn grain-like shape that bound the same region as kinesin. Biochemical crosslinking experiments and image analyses of the DSH-kinesin head-microtubule complex revealed competition between DSH and the kinesin head for microtubule binding. Our results demonstrate that dynein and kinesin share an overlapping microtubule-binding site, and imply that binding at this site has an essential role for these motor proteins.

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