Tug-of-War in Motor Protein Ensembles Revealed with a Programmable DNA Origami Scaffold

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Science  11 Oct 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1226734

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Cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin-1 are opposite-polarity, microtubule-based motors that transport a wide variety of cargo in eukaryotic cells. Many cellular cargos demonstrate bi-directional movement due to the presence of ensembles of dynein and kinesin but are ultimately sorted with spatial and temporal precision. To investigate the mechanisms that coordinate motor ensemble behavior, we built a programmable synthetic cargo using three-dimensional DNA origami to which varying numbers of DNA oligonucleotide-linked motors could be attached, allowing control of motor type, number, spacing, and orientation in vitro. In ensembles of 1-7 identical-polarity motors, motor number had minimal affect on directional velocity, while ensembles of opposite-polarity motors engaged in a tug-of-war resolvable by disengaging one motor species.

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