Torque generation by one of the motor subunits of heterotrimeric kinesin-2

Xiaoyu Pan, Seyda Acar, Jonathan M. Scholey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Heterotrimeric kinesin-2 motors [1,2] transport intraflagellar transport (IFT)-particles from the base to the tip of the axoneme to assemble and maintain cilia [3-10]. These motors are distinct in containing two non-identical motor subunits together with an accessory subunit [1,11-15]. We evaluated the significance of this organization by comparing purified wild type kinesin-2 holoenzymes that support IFT in vivo, with mutant trimers containing only one type of motor domain that do not support IFT in vivo. In motility assays, wild type kinesin-2 moved microtubules (MTs) at a rate intermediate between the rates supported by the two mutants. Interestingly, one of the mutants, but not the other mutant or the wild type protein, was observed to drive a persistent counter-clock-wise rotation of the gliding MTs. Thus one of the two motor domains of heterotrimeric kinesin-2 exerts torque as well as axial force as it moves along a MT, which may allow kinesin-2 to control its circumferential position around a MT doublet within the cilium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 8 2010


  • Heterotrimeric kinesin-2
  • Intraflagellar transport
  • Torque generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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