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Single Molecular Observation of Self-Regulated Kinesin Motility

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posted on 16.12.2015, 16:56 by Tomonobu M. Watanabe, Toshio Yanagida, Atsuko H. Iwane
Kinesin-1 is an ATP-driven molecular motor that transports various cargoes in cells, a process that can be regulated by the kinesin tail domain. Here, kinesin ATPase activity and motility were inhibited in vitro by interacting the kinesin heavy chain C-terminal tail domain with the kinesin N-terminal motor domain. Though the tail domain can directly interact with microtubules, we found 70% of tail domains failed to bind in the presence of >100 mM (high) KCl, which also modulated the ATPase inhibition manner. These observations suggest that self-inhibition of kinesin depends on electrostatic interactions between the motor domain, the tail domain, and a microtubule. Furthermore, we observed self-regulated behavior of kinesin at the single molecule level. The tail domain did not affect motility velocity, but it did lower the binding affinity of the motor domain to the microtubule. The decrement in binding was coupled to ATPase inhibition. Meanwhile, the tail domain transfected into living cells not only failed to bind to microtubules but also inhibited the motor domain and microtubule interaction, in agreement with our in vitro results. Furthermore, at high potassium concentrations, the self-regulation of kinesin observed in cells was like that in vitro. The results favor a way tail inhibition mechanism where the tail domain masks the microtubule binding site of the motor domain in high potassium concentration.