An outstanding unresolved question is how does the mitotic spindle utilize microtubules and mitotic motors to coordinate accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis? This process depends upon the mitotic motor, kinesin-5, whose unique bipolar architecture, with pairs of motor domains lying at opposite ends of a central rod, allows it to crosslink microtubules within the mitotic spindle and to coordinate their relative sliding during spindle assembly, maintenance and elongation. The structural basis of kinesin-5's bipolarity is, however, unknown, as protein asymmetry has so far precluded its crystallization. Here we use electron microscopy of single molecules of kinesin-5 and its subfragments, combined with hydrodynamic analysis plus mass spectrometry, circular dichroism and site-directed spin label electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, to show how a staggered antiparallel coiled-coil 'BASS' (bipolar assembly) domain directs the assembly of four kinesin-5 polypeptides into bipolar minifilaments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)