Directional Switching of the Kinesin Cin8 Through Motor Coupling

Science  01 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6025, pp. 94-99
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199945

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Kinesin motor proteins are thought to move exclusively in either one or the other direction along microtubules. Proteins of the kinesin-5 family are tetrameric microtubule cross-linking motors important for cell division and differentiation in various organisms. Kinesin-5 motors are considered to be plus-end–directed. However, here we found that purified kinesin-5 Cin8 from budding yeast could behave as a bidirectional kinesin. On individual microtubules, single Cin8 motors were minus-end–directed motors, whereas they switched to plus-end–directed motility when working in a team of motors sliding antiparallel microtubules apart. This kinesin can thus change directionality of movement depending on whether it acts alone or in an ensemble.

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