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Kinesin Walks the Line: Single Motors Observed by Atomic Force Microscopy

By Iwan A.T. Schaap, Carolina Carrasco, Pedro J. de Pablo and Christoph F. Schmidt


Motor proteins of the kinesin family move actively along microtubules to transport cargo within cells. How exactly a single motor proceeds on the 13 narrow lanes or protofilaments of a microtubule has not been visualized directly, and there persists controversy on the relative position of the two kinesin heads in different nucleotide states. We have succeeded in imaging Kinesin-1 dimers immobilized on microtubules with single-head resolution by atomic force microscopy. Moreover, we could catch glimpses of single Kinesin-1 dimers in their motion along microtubules with nanometer resolution. We find in our experiments that frequently both heads of one dimer are microtubule-bound at submicromolar ATP concentrations. Furthermore, we could unambiguously resolve that both heads bind to the same protofilament, instead of straddling two, and remain on this track during processive movement

Topics: Muscle, Motility, and Motor Protein
Publisher: The Biophysical Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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