How cargoes move within a crowded cell—over long distances and at speeds nearly the same as when moving on unimpeded pathway—has long been mysterious. Through an in vitro force-gliding assay, which involves measuring nanometer displacement and piconewtons of force, we show that multiple mammalian kinesin-1 (from 2-8) communicate in a team by inducing tension (up to 4 pN) on the cargo. Kinesins adopt two distinct states, with one-third slowing down the microtubule and two-thirds speeding it up. Resisting kinesins tend to come off more rapidly than, and speed up when pulled by driving kinesins, implying an asymmetric tug-of-war. Furthermore, kinesins dynamically interact to overcome roadblocks, occasionally combining their forces. Consequently, multiple kinesins acting as a team may play a significant role in facilitating smooth cargo motion in a dense environment. This is one of few cases in which single molecule behavior can be connected to ensemble behavior of multiple motors.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Paul R Selvin
- Paul R Selvin
- Kathleen M Trybus
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Taekjip Ha, Johns Hopkins University, United States
© 2019, Tjioe et al.
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