Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walk this way: Scientists and physiology students describe how a motor protein 'steps out'

Date:
January 17, 2012
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the unique "drunken sailor" gait of dynein, a protein that is critical for the function of every cell in the body and whose malfunction has been associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Lou Gehrig's disease and Parkinson's disease.

scientists have discovered the unique "drunken sailor" gait of dynein, a protein that is critical for the function of every cell in the body and whose malfunction has been associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Lou Gehrig's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Credit: Image courtesy of Marine Biological Laboratory

Just like people, some proteins have characteristic ways of "walking," which (also like human gaits) are not so easy to describe. But now scientists have discovered the unique "drunken sailor" gait of dynein, a protein that is critical for the function of every cell in the body and whose malfunction has been associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Lou Gehrig's disease and Parkinson's disease.

The research, which was led by Samara Reck-Peterson of Harvard Medical School and partially conducted in the MBL Physiology Course, received advance online publication this week in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Found in all of our cells, dynein is one of three types of "motor proteins": tiny molecular machines that are constantly working to shuttle materials needed to keep cells alive, allow cells to move and divide, and talk to their neighbors. All three types of motor protein (dynein, myosin, and kinesin) are "two-footed" and use the energy from breaking chemical bonds to generate movement.

"The myosin and kinesin motors work by walking more or less like we do: one foot in front of the other in a straight line," says Reck-Peterson. "We have discovered that the third motor model, dynein, appears to be different. Its two feet are at times uncoordinated and often veer from side to side (think drunken sailor). This mode of walking makes the dynein motor unique and may allow it to navigate obstacles while performing its transport functions in cells. Interestingly, our data also suggest that the dynein motor becomes more coordinated when it is hauling something large, implying that the motor can become more efficient when necessary."

Co-authors Elizabeth Villa of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and David Wu of UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine were students in the 2007 MBL Physiology Course. There, they began writing custom software code to analyze molecular movement by "two-dimensional particle tracking," which was used in this research.

Although this discovery is but a "first step," deciphering the walking mechanism of dynein may one day shed light on the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disease, Reck-Peterson says


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Weihong Qiu, Nathan D Derr, Brian S Goodman, Elizabeth Villa, David Wu, William Shih, Samara L Reck-Peterson. Dynein achieves processive motion using both stochastic and coordinated stepping. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2205

Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "Walk this way: Scientists and physiology students describe how a motor protein 'steps out'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210652.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2012, January 17). Walk this way: Scientists and physiology students describe how a motor protein 'steps out'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210652.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "Walk this way: Scientists and physiology students describe how a motor protein 'steps out'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210652.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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