Unconstrained steps of myosin VI appear longest among known molecular motors.
ABSTRACT: Myosin VI is a two-headed molecular motor that moves along an actin filament in the direction opposite to most other myosins. Previously, a single myosin VI molecule has been shown to proceed with steps that are large compared to its neck size: either it walks by somehow extending its neck or one head slides along actin for a long distance before the other head lands. To inquire into these and other possible mechanism of motility, we suspended an actin filament between two plastic beads, and let a single myosin VI molecule carrying a bead duplex move along the actin. This configuration, unlike previous studies, allows unconstrained rotation of myosin VI around the right-handed double helix of actin. Myosin VI moved almost straight or as a right-handed spiral with a pitch of several micrometers, indicating that the molecule walks with strides slightly longer than the actin helical repeat of 36 nm. The large steps without much rotation suggest kinesin-type walking with extended and flexible necks, but how to move forward with flexible necks, even under a backward load, is not clear. As an answer, we propose that a conformational change in the lifted head would facilitate landing on a forward, rather than backward, site. This mechanism may underlie stepping of all two-headed molecular motors including kinesin and myosin V.
Project description:Myosin VI is an ATP driven molecular motor that normally takes forward and processive steps on actin filaments, but also on occasion stochastic backward steps. While a number of models have attempted to explain the backwards steps, none offer an acceptable mechanism for their existence. We therefore performed single molecule imaging of myosin VI and calculated the stepping rates of forward and backward steps at the single molecule level. The forward stepping rate was proportional to the ATP concentration, whereas the backward stepping rate was independent. Using these data, we proposed that spontaneous detachment of the leading head is uncoupled from ATP binding and is responsible for the backward steps of myosin VI.
Project description:A processive molecular motor must coordinate the enzymatic state of its two catalytic domains in order to prevent premature detachment from its track. For myosin V, internal strain produced when both heads of are attached to an actin track prevents completion of the lever arm swing of the lead head and blocks ADP release. However, this mechanism cannot work for myosin VI, since its lever arm positions are reversed. Here, we demonstrate that myosin VI gating is achieved instead by blocking ATP binding to the lead head once it has released its ADP. The structural basis for this unique gating mechanism involves an insert near the nucleotide binding pocket that is found only in class VI myosin. Reverse strain greatly favors binding of ADP to the lead head, which makes it possible for myosin VI to function as a processive transporter as well as an actin-based anchor. While this mechanism is unlike that of any other myosin superfamily member, it bears remarkable similarities to that of another processive motor from a different superfamily--kinesin I.
Project description:Myosin VI is the only known reverse-direction myosin motor. It has an unprecedented means of amplifying movements within the motor involving rearrangements of the converter subdomain at the C terminus of the motor and an unusual lever arm projecting from the converter. While the average step size of a myosin VI dimer is 30-36 nm, the step size is highly variable, presenting a challenge to the lever arm mechanism by which all myosins are thought to move. Herein, we present structures of myosin VI that reveal regions of compliance that allow an uncoupling of the lead head when movement is modeled on actin. The location of the compliance restricts the possible actin binding sites and predicts the observed stepping behavior. The model reveals that myosin VI, unlike plus-end directed myosins, does not use a pure lever arm mechanism, but instead steps with a mechanism analogous to the kinesin neck-linker uncoupling model.
Project description:Myosin VI (MVI) is the only known member of the myosin superfamily that, upon dimerization, walks processively toward the pointed end of the actin filament. The leading head of the dimer directs the trailing head forward with a power stroke, a conformational change of the motor domain exaggerated by the lever arm. Using a unique coarse-grained model for the power stroke of a single MVI, we provide the molecular basis for its motility. We show that the power stroke occurs in two major steps. First, the motor domain attains the poststroke conformation without directing the lever arm forward; and second, the lever arm reaches the poststroke orientation by undergoing a rotational diffusion. From the analysis of the trajectories, we discover that the potential that directs the rotating lever arm toward the poststroke conformation is almost flat, implying that the lever arm rotation is mostly uncoupled from the motor domain. Because a backward load comparable to the largest interhead tension in a MVI dimer prevents the rotation of the lever arm, our model suggests that the leading-head lever arm of a MVI dimer is uncoupled, in accord with the inference drawn from polarized total internal reflection fluorescence (polTIRF) experiments. Without any adjustable parameter, our simulations lead to quantitative agreement with polTIRF experiments, which validates the structural insights. Finally, in addition to making testable predictions, we also discuss the implications of our model in explaining the broad step-size distribution of the MVI stepping pattern.
Project description:Single molecule fluorescence polarization techniques have been used for three-dimensional (3D) orientation measurements to observe the dynamic properties of single molecules. However, only few techniques can simultaneously measure 3D orientation and position. Furthermore, these techniques often require complex equipment and cumbersome analysis. We have developed a microscopy system and synthesized highly fluorescent, rod-like shaped quantum dots (Q rods), which have linear polarizations, to simultaneously measure the position and 3D orientation of a single fluorescent probe. The optics splits the fluorescence from the probe into four different spots depending on the polarization angle and projects them onto a CCD camera. These spots are used to determine the 2D position and 3D orientation. Q rod orientations could be determined with better than 10° accuracy at 33 ms time resolution. We applied our microscopy and Q rods to simultaneously measure myosin V movement along an actin filament and rotation around its own axis, finding that myosin V rotates 90° for each step. From this result, we suggest that in the two-headed bound state, myosin V necks are perpendicular to one another, while in the one-headed bound state the detached trailing myosin V head is biased forward in part by rotating its lever arm about its own axis. This microscopy system should be applicable to a wide range of dynamic biological processes that depend on single molecule orientation dynamics.
Project description:Kinesin-1 is a two-headed molecular motor that walks along microtubules, with each step gated by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binding. Existing models for the gating mechanism propose a role for the microtubule lattice. We show that unpolymerized tubulin binds to kinesin-1, causing tubulin-activated release of adenosine diphosphate (ADP). With no added nucleotide, each kinesin-1 dimer binds one tubulin heterodimer. In adenylyl-imidodiphosphate (AMP-PNP), a nonhydrolyzable ATP analog, each kinesin-1 dimer binds two tubulin heterodimers. The data reveal an ATP gate that operates independently of the microtubule lattice, by ATP-dependent release of a steric or allosteric block on the tubulin binding site of the tethered kinesin-ADP head.
Project description:Kinesin-1 is a two-headed motor that takes processive 8-nm hand-over-hand steps and transports intracellular cargos toward the plus-end of microtubules. Processive motility requires a gating mechanism to coordinate the mechanochemical cycles of the two heads. Kinesin gating involves neck linker (NL), a short peptide that interconnects the heads, but it remains unclear whether gating is facilitated by the NL orientation or tension. Using optical trapping, we measured the force-dependent microtubule release rate of kinesin monomers under different nucleotide conditions and pulling geometries. We find that pulling NL in the backward direction inhibits nucleotide binding and subsequent release from the microtubule. This inhibition is independent of the magnitude of tension (2-8 pN) exerted on NL. Our results provide evidence that the front head of a kinesin dimer is gated by the backward orientation of its NL until the rear head releases from the microtubule.
Project description:Although class IX myosins are single-headed, they demonstrate characteristics of processive movement along actin filaments. Double-headed myosins that move processively along actin filaments achieve this by successive binding of the two heads in a hand-over-hand mechanism. This mechanism, obviously, cannot operate in single-headed myosins. However, it has been proposed that a long class IX specific insertion in the myosin head domain at loop2 acts as an F-actin tether, allowing for single-headed processive movement. Here, we tested this proposal directly by analysing the movement of deletion constructs of the class IX myosin from Caenorhabditis elegans (Myo IX). Deletion of the large basic loop2 insertion led to a loss of processive behaviour, while deletion of the N-terminal head extension, a second unique domain of class IX myosins, did not influence the motility of Myo IX. The processive behaviour of Myo IX is also abolished with increasing salt concentrations. These observations directly demonstrate that the insertion located in loop2 acts as an electrostatic actin tether during movement of Myo IX along the actin track.
Project description:Mammalian myosin IXb (Myo9b) has been shown to exhibit unique motor properties in that it is a single-headed processive motor and the rate-limiting step in its chemical cycle is ATP hydrolysis. Furthermore, it has been reported to move toward the minus- and the plus-end of actin filaments. To analyze the contribution of the light chain-binding domain to the movement, processivity, and directionality of a single-headed processive myosin, we expressed constructs of Caenorhabditis elegans myosin IX (Myo9) containing either the head (Myo9-head) or the head and the light chain-binding domain (Myo9-head-4IQ). Both constructs supported actin filament gliding and moved toward the plus-end of actin filaments. We identified in the head of class IX myosins a calmodulin-binding site at the N terminus of loop 2 that is unique among the myosin superfamily members. Ca(2+)/calmodulin negatively regulated ATPase and motility of the Myo9-head. The Myo9-head demonstrated characteristics of a processive motor in that it supported actin filament gliding and pivoting at low motor densities. Quantum dot-labeled Myo9-head moved along actin filaments with a considerable run length and frequently paused without dissociating even in the presence of obstacles. We conclude that class IX myosins are plus-end-directed motors and that even a single head exhibits characteristics of a processive motor.
Project description:A chemomechanical-network model for myosin V is presented on the basis of both the nucleotide-dependent binding affinity of the head to an actin filament (AF) and asymmetries and similarity relations among the chemical transitions due to an intramolecular strain of the leading and trailing heads. The model allows for branched chemomechanical cycles and takes into account not only two different force-generating mechanical transitions between states wherein the leading head is strongly bound and the trailing head is weakly bound to the AF but also load-induced mechanical-slip transitions between states in which both heads are strongly bound. The latter is supported by the fact that ATP-independent high-speed backward stepping has been observed for myosin V, although such motility has never been for kinesin. The network model appears as follows: (1) the high chemomechanical-coupling ratio between forward step and ATP hydrolysis is achieved even at low ATP concentrations by the dual mechanical transitions; (2) the forward stepping at high ATP concentrations is explained by the front head-gating mechanism wherein the power stroke is triggered by the inorganic-phosphate (Pi) release from the leading head; (3) the ATP-binding or hydrolyzed ADP.Pi-binding leading head produces a stable binding to the AF, especially against backward loading.