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Curr Biol. 2009 Dec 29;19(24):2121-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.069. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

A nonprocessive class V myosin drives cargo processively when a kinesin- related protein is a passenger.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


During secretory events, kinesin transports cargo along microtubules and then shifts control to myosin V for delivery on actin filaments to the cell membrane [1]. When kinesin and myosin V are present on the same cargo, kinesin interacts electrostatically with actin to enhance myosin V-based transport in vitro [2]. The relevance of this observation within the cell was questioned. In budding yeast, overexpression of a kinesin-family protein (Smy1p) suppressed a transport defect in a strain with a mutant class V myosin (Myo2p) [3]. We postulate that this is a cellular manifestation of the in vitro observation. We demonstrate that Smy1p binds electrostatically to actin bundles. Although a single Myo2p cannot transport cargo along actin bundles, addition of Smy1p causes the complex to undergo long-range, continuous movement. We propose that the kinesin-family protein acts as a tether that prevents cargo dissociation from actin, allowing the myosin to take many steps before dissociating. We demonstrate that both the tether and the motor reside on moving secretory vesicles in yeast cells, a necessary feature for this mechanism to apply in vivo. The presence of both kinesin and myosin on the same cargo may be a general mechanism to enhance cellular transport in yeast and higher organisms.

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