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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2004 Sep;11(9):884-7. Epub 2004 Aug 1.

Myosin VI walks hand-over-hand along actin.

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Stanford University School of Medicine, Beckman Center, 279 Campus Drive, Stanford, California 94305-5307, USA.


Myosin VI is a molecular motor that can walk processively on actin filaments with a 36-nm step size. The walking mechanism of myosin VI is controversial because it takes very large steps without an apparent lever arm of required length. Therefore, myosin VI is argued to be the first exception to the widely established lever arm theory. It is therefore critical to directly demonstrate whether this motor walks hand-over-hand along actin despite its short lever arm. Here, we follow the displacement of a single myosin VI head during the stepping process. A single head is displaced 72 nm during stepping, whereas the center of mass previously has been shown to move 36 nm. The most likely explanation for this result is a hand-over-hand walking mechanism. We hypothesize the existence of a flexible element that would allow the motor to bridge the observed 72-nm distance.

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