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Nat Commun. 2016 Aug 4;7:12259. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12259.

Load-induced enhancement of Dynein force production by LIS1-NudE in vivo and in vitro.

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Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California 92697, USA.
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.


Most sub-cellular cargos are transported along microtubules by kinesin and dynein molecular motors, but how transport is regulated is not well understood. It is unknown whether local control is possible, for example, by changes in specific cargo-associated motor behaviour to react to impediments. Here we discover that microtubule-associated lipid droplets (LDs) in COS1 cells respond to an optical trap with a remarkable enhancement in sustained force production. This effect is observed only for microtubule minus-end-moving LDs. It is specifically blocked by RNAi for the cytoplasmic dynein regulators LIS1 and NudE/L (Nde1/Ndel1), but not for the dynactin p150(Glued) subunit. It can be completely replicated using cell-free preparations of purified LDs, where duration of LD force production is more than doubled. These results identify a novel, intrinsic, cargo-associated mechanism for dynein-mediated force adaptation, which should markedly improve the ability of motor-driven cargoes to overcome subcellular obstacles.

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