Motor Reattachment Kinetics Play a Dominant Role in Multimotor-Driven Cargo Transport

Qingzhou Feng, Keith J. Mickolajczyk, Geng Yuan Chen, William O. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Kinesin-based cargo transport in cells frequently involves the coordinated activity of multiple motors, including kinesins from different families that move at different speeds. However, compared to the progress at the single-molecule level, mechanisms by which multiple kinesins coordinate their activity during cargo transport are poorly understood. To understand these multimotor coordination mechanisms, defined pairs of kinesin-1 and kinesin-2 motors were assembled on DNA scaffolds and their motility examined in vitro. Although less processive than kinesin-1 at the single-molecule level, addition of kinesin-2 motors more effectively amplified cargo run lengths. By applying the law of total expectation to cargo binding durations in ADP, the kinesin-2 microtubule reattachment rate was shown to be fourfold faster than that of kinesin-1. This difference in microtubule binding rates was also observed in solution by stopped-flow. High-resolution tracking of a gold-nanoparticle-labeled motor with 1 ms and 2 nm precision revealed that kinesin-2 motors detach and rebind to the microtubule much more frequently than does kinesin-1. Finally, compared to cargo transported by two kinesin-1, cargo transported by two kinesin-2 motors more effectively navigated roadblocks on the microtubule track. These results highlight the importance of motor reattachment kinetics during multimotor transport and suggest a coordinated transport model in which kinesin-1 motors step effectively against loads whereas kinesin-2 motors rapidly unbind and rebind to the microtubule. This dynamic tethering by kinesin-2 maintains the cargo near the microtubule and enables effective navigation along crowded microtubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-409
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 23 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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