Modular aspects of kinesin force generation machinery. Academic Article uri icon


  • The motor head of kinesin carries out microtubule binding, ATP hydrolysis, and force generation. Despite a high level of sequence and structural conservation, subtle variations in subdomains of the motor head determine family-specific properties. In particular, both Kinesin-1 (Kin-1) and Kinesin-5 (Kin-5) walk processively to the microtubule plus-end, yet show distinct motility characteristics suitable for their functions. We studied chimeric Kin-1/Kin-5 constructs with a combination of single molecule motility assays and molecular dynamics simulations to demonstrate that Kin-5 possesses a force-generating element similar to Kin-1, i.e., the cover-neck bundle. Furthermore, the Kin-5 neck linker makes additional contacts with the core of the motor head via loop L13, which putatively compensates for the shorter cover-neck bundle of Kin-5. Our results indicate that Kin-1 is mechanically optimized for individual cargo transport, whereas Kin-5 does not necessarily maximize its mechanical performance. Its biochemical rates and enhanced force sensitivity may instead be beneficial for operation in a group of motors. Such variations in subdomains would be a strategy for achieving diversity in motility with the conserved motor head.

published proceedings

  • Biophys J

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Hesse, W. R., Steiner, M., Wohlever, M. L., Kamm, R. D., Hwang, W., & Lang, M. J.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Hesse, William R||Steiner, Miriam||Wohlever, Matthew L||Kamm, Roger D||Hwang, Wonmuk||Lang, Matthew J

publication date

  • January 2013