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Tuning the “Roadblock” Effect in Kinesin-Based Transport

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posted on 11.07.2012, 00:00 by Claudia Schmidt, Bokyung Kim, Henrik Grabner, Jonas Ries, Markku Kulomaa, Viola Vogel
Major efforts are underway to harness motor proteins for technical applications. Yet how to best attach cargo to microtubules that serve as kinesin-driven “molecular shuttles” without compromising transport performance remains challenging. Furthermore, microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) can block motor protein-powered transport in neurons, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Again it is unclear how different physical roadblock parameters interfere with the stepping motion of kinesins. Here, we employ a series of MAPs, tailored (strept)­avidins, and DNA as model roadblocks and determine how their geometrical, nanomechanical, and electrochemical properties can reduce kinesin-mediated transport. Our results provide insights into kinesin transport regulation and might facilitate the choice of appropriate cargo linkers for motor protein-driven transport devices.