Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Tiny Cell Proteins Generate Force To 'Walk'

Date:
December 4, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Researchers have shown how a cell motor protein exerts the force to move, enabling functions such as cell division.

Kinesin, a small motor protein found in cells, walks stepwise on microtubules to perform cellular processes. In each step, a power stroke is generated when two mechanical elements (neck linker, in red, and cover strand, in blue) form a beta-sheet that folds to drive the protein forward.
Credit: Image courtesy of Ahmad S. Khalil; Kathleen M. Flynn; and Wonmuk Hwang

MIT researchers have shown how a cell motor protein exerts the force to move, enabling functions such as cell division.

Related Articles


Kinesin, a motor protein that also carries neurotransmitters, "walks" along cellular beams known as microtubules. For the first time, the MIT team has shown at a molecular level how kinesin generates the force needed to step along the microtubules.

The researchers, led by Matthew Lang, associate professor of biological and mechanical engineering, report their findings in the Nov. 24 online early issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Because kinesin is involved in organizing the machinery of cell division, understanding how it works could one day be useful in developing therapies for diseases involving out-of-control cell division, such as cancer.

The protein consists of two "heads," which walk along the microtubule, and a long "tail," which carries cargo. The heads take turns stepping along the microtubule, at a rate of up to 100 steps (800 nanometers) per second.

In the PNAS paper, Lang and his colleagues offer experimental evidence for a model they reported in January in the journal Structure. Their model suggests — and the new experiments confirm — that a small region of the protein, part of which joins the head and tail is responsible for generating the force needed to make kinesin walk. Two protein subunits, known as the N-terminal cover strand and neck linker, line up next to each other to form a sheet, forming the cover-neck bundle that drives the kinesin head forward.

"This is the kinesin power stroke," said Lang.

Next, Lang's team plans to investigate how the two kinesin heads communicate with each other to coordinate their steps.

Lead author of the PNAS paper is Ahmad Khalil, graduate student in mechanical engineering. Other MIT authors of the paper are David Appleyard, a graduate student in biological engineering; Anna Labno, a recent MIT graduate; Adrien Georges, a visiting student in Lang's lab; and Angela Belcher, the Germehausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering. This work is a close collaboration with authors Martin Karplus of Harvard and Wonmuk Hwang of Texas A&M.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Army Research Office Institute of Collaborative Biotechnologies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "How Tiny Cell Proteins Generate Force To 'Walk'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124174907.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2008, December 4). How Tiny Cell Proteins Generate Force To 'Walk'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124174907.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "How Tiny Cell Proteins Generate Force To 'Walk'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081124174907.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins