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J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 10;287(33):27753-61. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.371393. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Collective dynamics of elastically coupled myosin V motors.

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


Characterization of the collective behaviors of different classes of processive motor proteins has become increasingly important to understand various intracellular trafficking and transport processes. This work examines the dynamics of structurally-defined motor complexes containing two myosin Va (myoVa) motors that are linked together via a molecular scaffold formed from a single duplex of DNA. Dynamic changes in the filament-bound configuration of these complexes due to motor binding, stepping, and detachment were monitored by tracking the positions of different color quantum dots that report the position of one head of each myoVa motor on actin. As in studies of multiple kinesins, the run lengths produced by two myosins are only slightly larger than those of single motor molecules. This suggests that internal strain within the complexes, due to asynchronous motor stepping and the resultant stretching of motor linkages, yields net negative cooperative behaviors. In contrast to multiple kinesins, multiple myosin complexes move with appreciably lower velocities than a single-myosin molecule. Although similar trends are predicted by a discrete state stochastic model of collective motor dynamics, these analyses also suggest that multiple myosin velocities and run lengths depend on both the compliance and the effective size of their cargo. Moreover, it is proposed that this unique collective behavior occurs because the large step size and relatively small stalling force of myoVa leads to a high sensitivity of motor stepping rates to strain.

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