Myosin V Walks by Lever Action and Brownian Motion

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Science  25 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5828, pp. 1208-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.1140468

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Myosin V is a molecular motor that moves cargo along actin filaments. Its two heads, each attached to a long and relatively stiff neck, move alternately forward in a “hand-over-hand” fashion. To observe under a microscope how the necks move, we attached a micrometer-sized rod to one of the necks. The leading neck swings unidirectionally forward, whereas the trailing neck, once lifted, undergoes extensive Brownian rotation in all directions before landing on a site ahead of the leading head. The neck-neck joint is essentially free, and the neck motion supports a mechanism where the active swing of the leading neck biases the random motion of the lifted head to let it eventually land on a forward site.

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