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Observing the Mushroom-to-Brush Transition for Kinesin Proteins

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journal contribution
posted on 10.12.2013, 00:00 by Emmanuel L. P. Dumont, Herve Belmas, Henry Hess
The height of polymers grafted to a surface is predicted to be constant at low densities (“mushroom” regime) and increase with the third root of the polymer surface density at high densities (“brush” regime). This mushroom-to-brush transition is explored with kinesin-1 proteins adhered to a surface at controlled densities. The kinesin height is measured by attaching fluorescently labeled microtubules to the kinesins and determining their elevation using fluorescence interference contrast microscopy. Our measurements are consistent with a mushroom regime and a brush regime and a transition near the theoretically predicted density. The mushroom-to-brush transition may play a role in protein behavior in crowded cellular environments and may be exploited as a signal in intracellular regulation and mechanotransduction.