The overarching goal is to gain critical insights into the fundamentals of motor structure and function and to extrapolate this understanding to the inner workings of the cell. Kinesin superfamily members share a common catalytic domain yet participate in a wide range of cellular functions including intracellular transport, mitosis and meiosis, regulation of microtubule dynamics for remodeling of the cytoskeleton, and generation of cell polarity. Sequence differences modify the mechanochemistry and microtubule interactions that are critical for the specific function. The goal of this proposal is to establishthe mechanistic and structural features shared by Kinesin-14 Kar3Cik1, Kar3Vik1, and Ncd and at the same time to reveal unique features that result in functional specificity. Members of the Kinesin-14 subfamily are the only kinesins known to promote microtubule minus-end-directed force generation, and these motors are not processive. In contrast, members of Kinesin-1, 2, 5, 7 subfamilies generate microtubule plus-end-directed force, and these molecular motors are processive. Conventional Kinesin-1, Kinesin-5 Eg5, and Kinesin-7 CENP-E generate motors from the same gene product, yet the functional catalytic dimer for Kinesin-2 arises from two different gene products. Therefore, what is the selective advantage of heterodimeric catalytic enzymes for in vivo function and how is head-head communication established to modulate interactions with the microtubule lattice and/or microtubule end? The research proposed evaluates heterodimeric Kar3Cik1 and Kar3Vik1 in comparison to homodimeric Ncd, and heterodimeric Kinesin-2 KIFAB and KIFAC in comparison to other processive homodimeric kinesins including conventional Kinesin-1, Eg5, and CENP-E. Experimental approaches include pre-steady state kinetic methodologies, fluorescence microscopy of microtubule-motor complexes, X-ray crystallography, and cryo- electron microscopy and tomography. This comprehensive analysis of Kinesin-14 and Kinesin-2 members will provide new insights to understand the mechanochemistry that underlies structure-function relationships required for cellular organization and function.

Public Health Relevance

The overall goal of this proposal is to understand the mechanochemistry of kinesin motors that underlies their ability to promote intracellular transport, generation of cell polarity, and remodeling of the microtubule cytoskeleton for cell division, cell differentiation, and morphogenesis during human development. Defects in kinesins have been linked to diverse pathologies including cancer, ciliopathies, neuropathies, and birth defects.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-F (02))
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Gindhart, Joseph G
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Planelles-Herrero, Vicente José; Blanc, Florian; Sirigu, Serena et al. (2016) Myosin MyTH4-FERM structures highlight important principles of convergent evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:E2906-15
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