We investigated the role of full-length Drosophila Bicaudal D (BicD) binding partners in dynein-dynactin activation for mRNA transport on microtubules. Full-length BicD robustly activated dynein-dynactin motility only when both the mRNA binding protein Egalitarian (Egl) and K10 mRNA cargo were present, and electron microscopy showed that both Egl and mRNA were needed to disrupt a looped, auto-inhibited BicD conformation. BicD can recruit two dimeric dyneins, resulting in faster speeds and longer runs than with one dynein. Moving complexes predominantly contained two Egl molecules and one K10 mRNA. This mRNA-bound configuration makes Egl bivalent, likely enhancing its avidity for BicD and thus its ability to disrupt BicD auto-inhibition. Consistent with this idea, artificially dimerized Egl activates dynein-dynactin-BicD in the absence of mRNA. The ability of mRNA cargo to orchestrate the activation of the mRNP (messenger ribonucleotide protein) complex is an elegant way to ensure that only cargo-bound motors are motile.
Data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been included for Figures 1, 4-10.
- Kathleen M Trybus
- M Yusuf Ali
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Andrea Musacchio, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Germany
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