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Title: Kinesin  
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Subject: Microtubule, Dynein, Tubulin, Motor protein, Ronald Vale
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Animation of kinesin walking on a microtubule
The kinesin dimer attaches to, and moves along, microtubules.
Diagram illustrating motility of kinesin.

A kinesin is a protein belonging to a class of motor proteins found in eukaryotic cells.

Kinesins move along microtubule (MT) filaments, and are powered by the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (thus kinesins are ATPases). The active movement of kinesins supports several cellular functions including mitosis, meiosis and transport of cellular cargo, such as in axonal transport. Most kinesins walk towards the positive end of a microtubule, which, in most cells, entails transporting cargo such as protein and membrane components from the centre of the cell towards the periphery. This form of transport is known as anterograde transport. In contrast, dyneins are motor proteins that move toward the microtubules' negative end.


  • The kinesins 1
  • Structure 2
    • Overall structure 2.1
    • Kinesin motor domain 2.2
  • Cargo transport 3
  • Direction of motion 4
  • Proposed mechanisms of movement 5
  • Theoretical modeling of kinesin 6
  • Kinesin and mitosis 7
  • Kinesin superfamily members 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

The kinesins

Kinesins were discovered as MT-based anterograde intracellular transport motors.[1] The founding member of this superfamily, kinesin-1, was isolated as a

  • MBInfo - Kinesin transports cargo along microtubules
  • Animated model of kinesin walking
  • Ron Vale's seminar:"Cytoskeletal Motor Proteins"
  • Animation of kinesin movement ASCB image library
  • Kinesin and Dynein Microtubule Movement
  • The Inner Life of a Cell, 3D animation featuring a Kinesin transporting a vesicle
  • The Kinesin Homepage
  • Kinesin at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • EC
  • EC
  • 3D electron microscopy structures of kinesin from the EM Data Bank(EMDB)

External links

  • Lawrence CJ, Dawe RK, Christie KR, Cleveland DW, Dawson SC, Endow SA, Goldstein LS, Goodson HV, Hirokawa N, Howard J, Malmberg RL, McIntosh JR, Miki H, Mitchison TJ, Okada Y, Reddy AS, Saxton WM, Schliwa M, Scholey JM, Vale RD, Walczak CE, Wordeman L (October 2004). "A standardized kinesin nomenclature". J. Cell Biol. 167 (1): 19–22.  

Further reading

  1. ^ Vale RD (February 2003). "The molecular motor toolbox for intracellular transport". Cell 112 (4): 467–80.  
  2. ^ Vale RD, Reese TS, Sheetz MP (August 1985). "Identification of a novel force-generating protein, kinesin, involved in microtubule-based motility". Cell 42 (1): 39–50.  
  3. ^ Cole DG, Chinn SW, Wedaman KP, Hall K, Vuong T, Scholey JM (November 1993). "Novel heterotrimeric kinesin-related protein purified from sea urchin eggs". Nature 366 (6452): 268–70.  
  4. ^ Rosenbaum JL, Witman GB (November 2002). "Intraflagellar transport". Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 3 (11): 813–25.  
  5. ^ Yang JT, Laymon RA, Goldstein LS (March 1989). "A three-domain structure of kinesin heavy chain revealed by DNA sequence and microtubule binding analyses". Cell 56 (5): 879–89.  
  6. ^ Aizawa H, Sekine Y, Takemura R, Zhang Z, Nangaku M, Hirokawa N (December 1992). "Kinesin family in murine central nervous system". J. Cell Biol. 119 (5): 1287–96.  
  7. ^ Enos AP, Morris NR (March 1990). "Mutation of a gene that encodes a kinesin-like protein blocks nuclear division in A. nidulans". Cell 60 (6): 1019–27.  
  8. ^ Meluh PB, Rose MD (March 1990). "KAR3, a kinesin-related gene required for yeast nuclear fusion". Cell 60 (6): 1029–41.  
  9. ^ Hirokawa N, Noda Y, Tanaka Y, Niwa S (October 2009). "Kinesin superfamily motor proteins and intracellular transport". Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 10 (10): 682–96.  
  10. ^ a b Lawrence CJ, Dawe RK, Christie KR, Cleveland DW, Dawson SC, Endow SA, Goldstein LS, Goodson HV, Hirokawa N, Howard J, Malmberg RL, McIntosh JR, Miki H, Mitchison TJ, Okada Y, Reddy AS, Saxton WM, Schliwa M, Scholey JM, Vale RD, Walczak CE, Wordeman L (October 2004). "A standardized kinesin nomenclature". J. Cell Biol. 167 (1): 19–22.  
  11. ^ Hirokawa N, Pfister KK, Yorifuji H, Wagner MC, Brady ST, Bloom GS (March 1989). "Submolecular domains of bovine brain kinesin identified by electron microscopy and monoclonal antibody decoration". Cell 56 (5): 867–78.  
  12. ^ ​; Kull FJ, Sablin EP, Lau R, Fletterick RJ, Vale RD (April 1996). "Crystal structure of the kinesin motor domain reveals a structural similarity to myosin". Nature 380 (6574): 550–5.  
  13. ^ Schnitzer MJ, Block SM (1997). "Kinesin hydrolyses one ATP per 8-nm step". Nature 388 (6640): 386–390.  
  14. ^ Vale RD, Milligan RA (April 2000). "The way things move: looking under the hood of molecular motor proteins". Science 288 (5463): 88–95.  
  15. ^ Mather WH, Fox RF (October 2006). "Kinesin's biased stepping mechanism: amplification of neck linker zippering". Biophys. J. 91 (7): 2416–26.  
  16. ^ Gross SP, Vershinin M, Shubeita GT (June 2007). "Cargo transport: two motors are sometimes better than one". Current Biology : CB 17 (12): R478–86.  
  17. ^ Hancock WO (August 2008). "Intracellular transport: kinesins working together". Current Biology : CB 18 (16): R715–7.  
  18. ^ Kunwar A, Vershinin M, Xu J, Gross SP (August 2008). "Stepping, strain gating, and an unexpected force-velocity curve for multiple-motor-based transport". Current Biology : CB 18 (16): 1173–83.  
  19. ^ Klumpp S, Lipowsky R (November 2005). "Cooperative cargo transport by several molecular motors". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 (48): 17284–9.  
  20. ^ Rice S, Lin AW, Safer D, Hart CL, Naber N, Carragher BO, Cain SM, Pechatnikova E, Wilson-Kubalek EM, Whittaker M, Pate E, Cooke R, Taylor EW, Milligan RA, Vale RD (December 1999). "A structural change in the kinesin motor protein that drives motility". Nature 402 (6763): 778–84.  
  21. ^ Ambrose JC, Li W, Marcus A, Ma H, Cyr R (April 2005). "A minus-end-directed kinesin with plus-end tracking protein activity is involved in spindle morphogenesis". Mol. Biol. Cell 16 (4): 1584–92.  
  22. ^ Roostalu, J.; Hentrich, C.; Bieling, P.; Telley, I. A.; Schiebel, E.; Surrey, T. (2011). "Directional Switching of the Kinesin Cin8 Through Motor Coupling". Science 332 (6025): 94–99.  
  23. ^ Yildiz A, Tomishige M, Vale RD, Selvin PR (2004). "Kinesin Walks Hand-Over-Hand". Science 303 (5658): 676–8.  
  24. ^ Asbury CL (2005). "Kinesin: world’s tiniest biped". Current Opinion in Cell Biology 17 (1): 89–97.  
  25. ^ Sindelar CV, Downing KH (February 2010). "An atomic-level mechanism for activation of the kinesin molecular motors". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107 (9): 4111–6.  
  26. ^ Lay Summary (18 February 2010). "Life’s smallest motor, cargo carrier of the cells, moves like a seesaw". Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  27. ^ Atzberger PJ, Peskin CS (January 2006). "A Brownian Dynamics model of kinesin in three dimensions incorporating the force-extension profile of the coiled-coil cargo tether". Bull. Math. Biol. 68 (1): 131–60.  
  28. ^ Peskin CS, Oster G (April 1995). "Coordinated hydrolysis explains the mechanical behavior of kinesin". Biophys. J. 68 (4 Suppl): 202S–210S; discussion 210S–211S.  
  29. ^  
  30. ^ Goshima G, Vale RD (August 2005). "Cell cycle-dependent dynamics and regulation of mitotic kinesins in Drosophila S2 cells". Mol. Biol. Cell 16 (8): 3896–907.  


See also

  • KAP-1, KAP3 or KIFAP3

kinesin-2 associated protein:

kinesin-1 light chains:

Human kinesin superfamily members include the following proteins, which in the standardized nomenclature developed by the community of kinesin researchers, are organized into 14 families named kinesin-1 through kinesin-14:[10]

Kinesin superfamily members

In recent years, it has been found that microtubule-based molecular motors (including a number of kinesins) have a role in mitosis (cell division). Kinesins are important for proper spindle length and are involved in sliding microtubules apart within the spindle during prometaphase and metaphase, as well as depolymerizing microtubule minus ends at centrosomes during anaphase.[30] Specifically, Kinesin-5 family proteins act within the spindle to slide microtubules apart, while the Kinesin 13 family act to depolymerize microtubules.

Kinesin and mitosis

A number of theoretical models of the molecular motor protein kinesin have been proposed.[27][28][29] Many challenges are encountered in theoretical investigations given the remaining uncertainties about the roles of protein structures, precise way energy from ATP is transformed into mechanical work, and the roles played by thermal fluctuations. This is a rather active area of research. There is a need especially for approaches which better make a link with the molecular architecture of the protein and data obtained from experimental investigations.

Theoretical modeling of kinesin

ATP binding and hydrolysis cause kinesin to travel via a "seesaw mechanism" about a pivot point.[25][26] This seesaw mechanism accounts for observations that the binding of the ATP to the no-nucleotide, microtubule-bound state results in a tilting of the kinesin motor domain relative to the microtubule. Critically, prior to this tilting the neck linker is unable to adopt its motor-head docked, forward-facing conformation. The ATP-induced tilting provides the opportunity for the neck linker to dock in this forward-facing conformation. This model is based on CRYO-EM models of the microtubule-bound kinesin structure which represent the beginning and end states of the process, but cannot resolve the precise details of the transition between the structures.

Despite some remaining controversy, mounting experimental evidence points towards the hand-over-hand mechanism as being more likely.[23][24]

  • In the "hand-over-hand" mechanism, the kinesin heads step past one another, alternating the lead position.
  • In the "inchworm" mechanism, one kinesin head always leads, moving forward a step before the trailing head catches up.

Kinesin accomplishes transport by "walking" along a microtubule. Two mechanisms have been proposed to account for this movement.

Proposed mechanisms of movement

Cin8, a member of the Kinesin-5 family, has the novel ability to switch directionality. It has been shown to be minus-end-directed (contrary to the rest of the known Kinesins) when bound to a single microtubule, but plus-end-directed when cross-linking antiparallel microtubules (pushing the minus ends further apart and pulling the plus ends towards each other). This dual directionality has been observed in identical conditions where free Cin8 molecules move towards the minus end, but cross-linking Cin8 move toward the plus ends of each cross-linked microtubule. It is suggested that this unique ability is a result of coupling with other Cin8 motors and helps to fulfill the role of dynein in budding yeast.[22]

A different type of motor protein known as dyneins, move towards the minus end of the microtubule. Thus they transport cargo from the periphery of the cell towards the centre, for example from the terminal boutons of a neuronal axon to the cell body (soma). This is known as retrograde transport.

Most kinesins walk towards the plus end of a microtubule which, in most cells, entails transporting cargo from the centre of the cell towards the periphery. This form of transport is known as anterograde transport/orthrograde transport. Kinesin-14 family proteins, such as Drosophila melanogaster NCD, budding yeast KAR3, and Arabidopsis thaliana ATK5, walk in the opposite direction, toward microtubule minus ends.[21]

Motor proteins travel in a specific direction along a microtubule. This is because the microtubule is polar and the heads only bind to the microtubule in one orientation, while ATP binding gives each step its direction through a process known as neck linker zippering.[20]

Direction of motion

There is significant evidence that cargoes in-vivo are transported by multiple motors.[16][17][18][19]

In the cell, small molecules such as gases and mitochondria are too large (and the cytosol too crowded) to diffuse to their destinations. Motor proteins fulfill the role of transporting large cargo about the cell to their required destinations. Kinesins are motor proteins that transport such cargo by walking unidirectionally along microtubule tracks hydrolysing one molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) at each step.[13] It was thought that ATP hydrolysis powered each step, the energy released propelling the head forwards to the next binding site.[14] However, it has been proposed that the head diffuses forward and the force of binding to the microtubule is what pulls the cargo along.[15]

Cargo transport

The head is the signature of kinesin and its amino acid sequence is well conserved among various kinesins. Each head has two separate binding sites: one for the microtubule and the other for ATP. ATP binding and hydrolysis as well as ADP release change the conformation of the microtubule-binding domains and the orientation of the neck linker with respect to the head; this results in the motion of the kinesin. Several structural elements in the Head, including a central beta-sheet domain and the Switch I and II domains, have been implicated as mediating the interactions between the two binding sites and the neck domain. Kinesins are structurally related to G proteins, which hydrolyze GTP instead of ATP. Several structural elements are shared between the two families, notably the Switch I and Switch II domains.

Kinesin motor domain
Crystallographic structure of the human kinesin motor domain depicted as a rainbow colored cartoon (N-terminus = blue, C-terminus = red) complexed with ADP (stick diagram, carbon = white, oxygen = red, nitrogen = blue, phosphorus = orange) and a magnesium ion (grey sphere).[12]
Symbol Kinesin motor domain
Pfam PF00225
InterPro IPR001752
SCOP 1bg2
CDD cd00106

Kinesin motor domain

The heavy chain of kinesin-1 comprises a globular head (the motor domain) at the amino terminal end connected via a short, flexible neck linker to the stalk – a long, central alpha-helical coiled-coil domain – that ends in a carboxy terminal tail domain which associates with the light-chains. The stalks of two KHCs intertwine to form a coiled-coil that directs dimerization of the two KHCs. In most cases transported cargo binds to the kinesin light chains, at the TPR motif sequence of the KLC, but in some cases cargo binds to the C-terminal domains of the heavy chains.[11]

Members of the kinesin superfamily vary in shape but the prototypical kinesin-1 is a heterotetramer whose motor subunits (heavy chains or KHCs) form a protein dimer (molecule pair) that binds two light chains (KLCs).

Overall structure



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