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Directional switching of the kinesin Cin8 through motor coupling.

Roostalu J., Hentrich C., Bieling P., Telley I.A., Schiebel E., Surrey T.

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.

Science 332:94-99(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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