A Brownian Ratchet Model Explains the Biased Sidestepping of Single-Headed Kinesin-3 KIF1A.
ABSTRACT: The kinesin-3 motor KIF1A is involved in long-ranged axonal transport in neurons. To ensure vesicular delivery, motors need to navigate the microtubule lattice and overcome possible roadblocks along the way. The single-headed form of KIF1A is a highly diffusive motor that has been shown to be a prototype of a Brownian motor by virtue of a weakly bound diffusive state to the microtubule. Recently, groups of single-headed KIF1A motors were found to be able to sidestep along the microtubule lattice, creating left-handed helical membrane tubes when pulling on giant unilamellar vesicles in vitro. A possible hypothesis is that the diffusive state enables the motor to explore the microtubule lattice and switch protofilaments, leading to a left-handed helical motion. Here, we study the longitudinal rotation of microtubules driven by single-headed KIF1A motors using fluorescence-interference contrast microscopy. We find an average rotational pitch of ?1.5?m, which is remarkably robust to changes in the gliding velocity, ATP concentration, microtubule length, and motor density. Our experimental results are compared to stochastic simulations of Brownian motors moving on a two-dimensional continuum ratchet potential, which quantitatively agree with the fluorescence-interference contrast experiments. We find that single-headed KIF1A sidestepping can be explained as a consequence of the intrinsic handedness and polarity of the microtubule lattice in combination with the diffusive mechanochemical cycle of the motor.