Motor proteins convert metabolic energy into force and displacement, generating movement in living organisms. The largest class of such proteins derives energy from the hydrolysis of ATP, and includes the myosin, dynein, and kinesin superfamilies. Despite over a century of study and the arsenal of chemical and physical approaches that has been tried, the molecular mechanism by which mechanoenzymes actually work remains obscure. Today, the mystery of force production is one of the outstanding problems in biology, with obvious implications in understanding the basis of motor-related disease. The advent of in vitro motility assays has, at last allowed motor proteins to be studied in cimparative isolation, using purified components interacting in defined geometries, in many cases down the level of individual molecules. Among the motor proteins, the kinesin-microtuble system affords certain advantages for stud, because (1) kinesin and related proteins represent the smallest motors yet discovered, (2) processive motion can be generated by single kinesin motors, (3) the atomic structure of the kinesin motor domain has been solved, (4) recombinant kinesin derivatives and kinesin-related proteins can be isolated in functional form, in both bacterial and eukaryotic expression systems, and (5) technology exists that can supply forces and measure displacements on the molecular scale, with high temporal and spatial resolution. Thanks, in part, to these advantages, great strides have recently been made towards establishing constraints on possible models for movement, vastly reducing the constellation of mechanisms to consider. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a quantitative understanding of kinesin protein function, based on detailed molecular physiology, combined with biochemical and biostructural data.
Specific aims i nclude measurement of the speeds, forces, displacements, cycle timing, ATP coupling, head-head interactions, and other properties of kinesin, kinesin-related proteins, and genetically-engineered derivatives thereof. For this purpose, advanced instrumentation based on optical trapping (optical tweezers) and optical nanometry has been developed, and will be used in experiments at the single molecule level.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
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Molecular Cytology Study Section (CTY)
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Princeton University
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Milic, Bojan; Andreasson, Johan O L; Hogan, Daniel W et al. (2017) Intraflagellar transport velocity is governed by the number of active KIF17 and KIF3AB motors and their motility properties under load. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E6830-E6838
Andreasson, Johan O L; Shastry, Shankar; Hancock, William O et al. (2015) The Mechanochemical Cycle of Mammalian Kinesin-2 KIF3A/B under Load. Curr Biol 25:1166-75
Andreasson, Johan O L; Milic, Bojan; Chen, Geng-Yuan et al. (2015) Examining kinesin processivity within a general gating framework. Elife 4:
Milic, Bojan; Andreasson, Johan O L; Hancock, William O et al. (2014) Kinesin processivity is gated by phosphate release. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:14136-40
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Gutiérrez-Medina, Braulio; Andreasson, Johan O L; Greenleaf, William J et al. (2010) An optical apparatus for rotation and trapping. Methods Enzymol 475:377-404
Gutiérrez-Medina, Braulio; Fehr, Adrian N; Block, Steven M (2009) Direct measurements of kinesin torsional properties reveal flexible domains and occasional stalk reversals during stepping. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:17007-12
Guydosh, Nicholas R; Block, Steven M (2009) Direct observation of the binding state of the kinesin head to the microtubule. Nature 461:125-8
Valentine, Megan T; Block, Steven M (2009) Force and premature binding of ADP can regulate the processivity of individual Eg5 dimers. Biophys J 97:1671-7
Fehr, Adrian N; Gutiérrez-Medina, Braulio; Asbury, Charles L et al. (2009) On the origin of kinesin limping. Biophys J 97:1663-70

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