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Nat Nanotechnol. 2018 May;13(5):386-391. doi: 10.1038/s41565-018-0084-4. Epub 2018 Mar 12.

Kinesin expands and stabilizes the GDP-microtubule lattice.

Author information

1
Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK.
2
Warwick Systems Biology Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
3
Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
4
Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK. R.A.Cross@warwick.ac.uk.

Abstract

Kinesin-1 is a nanoscale molecular motor that walks towards the fast-growing (plus) ends of microtubules, hauling molecular cargo to specific reaction sites in cells. Kinesin-driven transport is central to the self-organization of eukaryotic cells and shows great promise as a tool for nano-engineering 1 . Recent work hints that kinesin may also play a role in modulating the stability of its microtubule track, both in vitro2,3 and in vivo 4 , but the results are conflicting5-7 and the mechanisms are unclear. Here, we report a new dimension to the kinesin-microtubule interaction, whereby strong-binding state (adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-bound and apo) kinesin-1 motor domains inhibit the shrinkage of guanosine diphosphate (GDP) microtubules by up to two orders of magnitude and expand their lattice spacing by ~1.6%. Our data reveal an unexpected mechanism by which the mechanochemical cycles of kinesin and tubulin interlock, and so allow motile kinesins to influence the structure, stability and mechanics of their microtubule track.

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