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Trends Cell Biol. 2008 Mar;18(3):128-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2008.01.002. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

The role of microtubules in processive kinesin movement.

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Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Oiwake, Kita-shirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan.


Kinesins are microtubule-based motors that are important for various intracellular transport processes. To understand the mechanism of kinesin movement, X-ray crystallography has been used to study the atomic structures of kinesin. However, as crystal structures of kinesin alone accumulate, it is becoming clear that kinesin structures should also be investigated with the microtubule to understand the contribution of the microtubule track to the nucleotide-induced conformational changes of kinesin. Recently, several high-resolution structures of kinesin with microtubules were obtained using cryo-electron microscopy. Comparison with X-ray crystallographic structures revealed the importance of the microtubule in determining the conformation of kinesin. Together with recent biophysical data, we describe different structural models of processive kinesin movement and provide a framework for future experiments.

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