Interrogating Emergent Transport Properties for Molecular Motor Ensembles: A Semi-analytical Approach.
ABSTRACT: Intracellular transport is an essential function in eucaryotic cells, facilitated by motor proteins-proteins converting chemical energy into kinetic energy. It is understood that motor proteins work in teams enabling unidirectional and bidirectional transport of intracellular cargo over long distances. Disruptions of the underlying transport mechanisms, often caused by mutations that alter single motor characteristics, are known to cause neurodegenerative diseases. For example, phosphorylation of kinesin motor domain at the serine residue is implicated in Huntington's disease, with a recent study of phosphorylated and phosphomimetic serine residues indicating lowered single motor stalling forces. In this article we report the effects of mutations of this nature on transport properties of cargo carried by multiple wild-type and mutant motors. Results indicate that mutants with altered stall forces might determine the average velocity and run-length even when they are outnumbered by wild type motors in the ensemble. It is shown that mutants gain a competitive advantage and lead to an increase in the expected run-length when the load on the cargo is in the vicinity of the mutant's stalling force or a multiple of its stalling force. A separate contribution of this article is the development of a semi-analytic method to analyze transport of cargo by multiple motors of multiple types. The technique determines transition rates between various relative configurations of motors carrying the cargo using the transition rates between various absolute configurations. This enables a computation of biologically relevant quantities like average velocity and run-length without resorting to Monte Carlo simulations. It can also be used to introduce alterations of various single motor parameters to model a mutation and to deduce effects of such alterations on the transport of a common cargo by multiple motors. Our method is easily implementable and we provide a software package for general use.
Project description:Myosin Va (myoVa) is a processive, actin-based molecular motor essential for intracellular cargo transport. When a cargo is transported by an ensemble of myoVa motors, each motor faces significant physical barriers and directional challenges created by the complex actin cytoskeleton, a network of actin filaments and actin bundles. The principles that govern the interaction of multiple motors attached to the same cargo are still poorly understood. To understand the mechanical interactions between multiple motors, we developed a simple in vitro model in which two individual myoVa motors labeled with different-colored Qdots are linked via a third Qdot that acts as a cargo. The velocity of this two-motor complex was reduced by 27% as compared to a single motor, whereas run length was increased by only 37%, much less than expected from multimotor transport models. Therefore, at low ATP, which allowed us to identify individual motor steps, we investigated the intermotor dynamics within the two-motor complex. The randomness of stepping leads to a buildup of tension in the linkage between motors-which in turn slows down the leading motor-and increases the frequency of backward steps and the detachment rate. We establish a direct relationship between the velocity reduction and the distribution of intermotor distances. The analysis of run lengths and dwell times for the two-motor complex, which has only one motor engaged with the actin track, reveals that half of the runs are terminated by almost simultaneous detachment of both motors. This finding challenges the assumptions of conventional multimotor models based on consecutive motor detachment. Similar, but even more drastic, results were observed with two-motor complexes on actin bundles, which showed a run length that was even shorter than that of a single motor.
Project description:Intracellular transport of cargo particles is performed by multiple motors working in concert. However, the mechanism of motor association to cargos is unknown. It is also unknown how long individual motors stay attached, how many are active, and how multimotor cargos would navigate a densely crowded filament with many other motors. Prior theoretical and experimental biophysical model systems of intracellular cargo have assumed fixed teams of motors transporting along bare microtubules or microtubules with fixed obstacles. Here, we investigate a regime of cargos transporting along microtubules crowded with free motors. Furthermore, we use cargos that are able to associate or dissociate motors as it translocates. We perform in vitro motility reconstitution experiments with high-resolution particle tracking. Our model system consists of a quantum dot cargo attached to kinesin motors, and additional free kinesin motors that act as traffic along the microtubule. Although high densities of kinesin motors hinder forward motion, resulting in a lower velocity, the ability to associate motors appears to enhance the run length and attachment time of the quantum dot, improving overall cargo transport. These results suggest that cargos that can associate new motors as they transport could overcome traffic jams.
Project description:The transport of cargo particles that are pulled by several molecular motors in a cooperative manner is studied theoretically in this article. The transport properties depend primarily on the maximal number N of motor molecules that may pull simultaneously on the cargo particle. Because each motor must unbind from the filament after a finite number of steps but can also rebind to it again, the actual number of pulling motors is not constant but varies with time between zero and N. An increase in the maximal number N leads to a strong increase of the average walking distance (or run length) of the cargo particle. If the cargo is pulled by up to N kinesin motors, for example, the walking distance is estimated to be 5(N-1)/N micrometers, which implies that seven or eight kinesin molecules are sufficient to attain an average walking distance in the centimeter range. If the cargo particle is pulled against an external load force, this force is shared between the motors, which provides a nontrivial motor-motor coupling and a generic mechanism for nonlinear force-velocity relationships. With increasing load force, the probability distribution of the instantaneous velocity is shifted toward smaller values, becomes broader, and develops several peaks. Our theory is consistent with available experimental data and makes quantitative predictions that are accessible to systematic in vitro experiments.
Project description:Cytoplasmic transport of organelles, nucleic acids and proteins on microtubules is usually bidirectional with dynein and kinesin motors mediating the delivery of cargoes in the cytoplasm. Here we combine live cell microscopy, single virus tracking and trajectory segmentation to systematically identify the parameters of a stochastic computational model of cargo transport by molecular motors on microtubules. The model parameters are identified using an evolutionary optimization algorithm to minimize the Kullback-Leibler divergence between the in silico and the in vivo run length and velocity distributions of the viruses on microtubules. The present stochastic model suggests that bidirectional transport of human adenoviruses can be explained without explicit motor coordination. The model enables the prediction of the number of motors active on the viral cargo during microtubule-dependent motions as well as the number of motor binding sites, with the protein hexon as the binding site for the motors.
Project description:Microtubule-based molecular motors often work in small groups to transport cargos in cells. A key question in understanding transport (and its regulation in vivo) is to identify the sensitivity of multiple-motor-based motion to various single molecule properties. Whereas both single-motor travel distance and microtubule binding rate have been demonstrated to contribute to cargo travel, the role of single-motor velocity is yet to be explored. Here, we recast a previous theoretical study, and make explicit a potential contribution of velocity to cargo travel. We test this possibility experimentally, and demonstrate a strong negative correlation between single-motor velocity and cargo travel for transport driven by two motors. Our study thus discovers a previously unappreciated role of single-motor velocity in regulating multiple-motor transport.
Project description:Cytoskeletal filaments assemble into dense parallel, antiparallel, or disordered networks, providing a complex environment for active cargo transport and positioning by molecular motors. The interplay between the network architecture and intrinsic motor properties clearly affects transport properties but remains poorly understood. Here, by using surface micropatterns of actin polymerization, we investigate stochastic transport properties of colloidal beads in antiparallel networks of overlapping actin filaments. We found that 200-nm beads coated with myosin Va motors displayed directed movements toward positions where the net polarity of the actin network vanished, accumulating there. The bead distribution was dictated by the spatial profiles of local bead velocity and diffusion coefficient, indicating that a diffusion-drift process was at work. Remarkably, beads coated with heavy-mero-myosin II motors showed a similar behavior. However, although velocity gradients were steeper with myosin II, the much larger bead diffusion observed with this motor resulted in less precise positioning. Our observations are well described by a 3-state model, in which active beads locally sense the net polarity of the network by frequently detaching from and reattaching to the filaments. A stochastic sequence of processive runs and diffusive searches results in a biased random walk. The precision of bead positioning is set by the gradient of net actin polarity in the network and by the run length of the cargo in an attached state. Our results unveiled physical rules for cargo transport and positioning in networks of mixed polarity.
Project description:Intracellular transport along cytoskeletal filaments is often mediated by two teams of molecular motors that pull on the same cargo and move in opposite directions along the filaments. We have recently shown theoretically that this bidirectional transport can be understood as a stochastic tug-of-war between the two motor teams. Here, we further develop our theory to investigate the experimentally accessible dynamic behavior of cargos transported by strong motors such as kinesin-1 or cytoplasmic dynein. By studying the run and binding times of such a cargo, we show that the properties of biological motors, such as the large ratio of stall/detachment force and the small ratio of superstall backward/forward velocity, are favorable for bidirectional cargo transport, leading to fast motion and enhanced diffusion. In addition, cargo processivity is shown to be strongly enhanced by transport via several molecular motors even if these motors are engaged in a tug-of-war. Finally, we study the motility of a bidirectional cargo under force. Frictional forces arising, e.g., from the viscous cytoplasm, lead to peaks in the velocity distribution, while external forces as exerted, e.g., by an optical trap, lead to hysteresis effects. Our results, in particular our explicit expressions for the cargo binding time and the distance of the peaks in the velocity relation under friction, are directly accessible to in vitro as well as in vivo experiments.
Project description:Organelle transport to the periphery of the cell involves coordinated transport between the processive motors kinesin and myosin V. Long-range transport takes place on microtubule tracks, whereas final delivery involves shorter actin-based movements. The concept that motors only function on their appropriate track required further investigation with the recent observation that myosin V undergoes a diffusional search on microtubules. Here we show, using single-molecule techniques, that a functional consequence of myosin V's diffusion on microtubules is a significant enhancement of the processive run length of kinesin when both motors are present on the same cargo. The degree of run length enhancement correlated with the net positive charge in loop 2 of myosin V. On actin, myosin V also undergoes longer processive runs when kinesin is present on the same cargo. The process that causes run length enhancement on both cytoskeletal tracks is electrostatic. We propose that one motor acts as a tether for the other and prevents its diffusion away from the track, thus allowing more steps to be taken before dissociation. The resulting run length enhancement likely contributes to the successful delivery of cargo in the cell.
Project description:In this work, we explored theoretically the transport of organelles driven along microtubules by molecular motors of opposed polarities using a stochastic model that considers a Langevin dynamics for the cargo, independent cargo-motor linkers and stepping motion for the motors. It has been recently proposed that the stiffness of the motor plays an important role when multiple motors collectively transport a cargo. Therefore, we considered in our model the recently reported values for the stiffness of the cargo-motor linker determined in living cells (?0.01 pN/nm,) which is significantly lower than the motor stiffness obtained in in vitro assays and used in previous studies. Our model could reproduce the multimodal velocity distributions and typical trajectory characteristics including the properties of the reversions in the overall direction of motion observed during melanosome transport along microtubules in Xenopus laevis melanophores. Moreover, we explored the contribution of the different motility states of the cargo-motor system to the different modes of the velocity distributions and could identify the microscopic mechanisms of transport leading to trajectories compatible with those observed in living cells. Finally, by changing the attachment and detachment rates, the model could reproduce the different velocity distributions observed during melanosome transport along microtubules in Xenopus laevis melanophores stimulated for aggregation and dispersion. Our analysis suggests that active tug-of-war processes with loose mechanical coupling can account for several aspects of cargo transport along microtubules in living cells.
Project description:The response of motor proteins to external loads underlies their ability to work in teams and determines the net speed and directionality of cargo transport. The mammalian kinesin-2, KIF3A/B, is a heterotrimeric motor involved in intraflagellar transport and vesicle motility in neurons. Bidirectional cargo transport is known to result from the opposing activities of KIF3A/B and dynein bound to the same cargo, but the load-dependent properties of kinesin-2 are poorly understood. We used a feedback-controlled optical trap to probe the velocity, run length, and unbinding kinetics of mouse KIF3A/B under various loads and nucleotide conditions. The kinesin-2 motor velocity is less sensitive than kinesin-1 to external forces, but its processivity diminishes steeply with load, and the motor was observed occasionally to slip and reattach. Each motor domain was characterized by studying homodimeric constructs, and a global fit to the data resulted in a comprehensive pathway that quantifies the principal force-dependent kinetic transitions. The properties of the KIF3A/B heterodimer are intermediate between the two homodimers, and the distinct load-dependent behavior is attributable to the properties of the motor domains and not to the neck linkers or the coiled-coil stalk. We conclude that the force-dependent movement of KIF3A/B differs significantly from conventional kinesin-1. Against opposing dynein forces, KIF3A/B motors are predicted to rapidly unbind and rebind, resulting in qualitatively different transport behavior from kinesin-1.