Chemla group recent work, how multiple motors simultaneously transport the cargo and avoid cellular roadblocks

3/19/2019 10:49:24 AM CPLC Staff


How cargoes move within a crowded cell, over long distances and at speeds that are nearly the same as when moving on an unimpeded pathway, has long been mysterious. Through an in vitro gliding assay, which involves measuring nanometer displacement and piconewtons of force, we have evidence that when kinesins, a cytoplasmic molecular motor, operate in small groups, from 2 to 10, they can communicate among themselves through an asymmetric tug-of-war by inducing tension (up to 4 pN) on the cargo. Surprisingly, the primary role of approximately one-third of kinesins is to develop tension, which instantaneously slows forward motion but helps increase cargo run length. These hindering kinesins fall off rapidly when experiencing a forward tug. Occasionally, they may be ripped off from their anchors by other driving kinesins working in tandem. Furthermore, with roadblocks on the microtubule, multiple kinesins cooperate to overcome impediments. Hence, kinesin may employ an asymmetric tug-of-war and a cooperative motion to navigate through cellular environment.