Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Speedy couriers in the cell

"Optical tweezers"
"Optical tweezers"

Abstract:
Why motor proteins have brakes

Speedy couriers in the cell

Germany | Posted on May 24th, 2010

Every single one of our cells contains so-called motor proteins that transport important substances from one location to another. However, very little is known about how exactly these transport processes occur. Biophysicists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet Muenchen (LMU) have now succeeded in explaining fundamental functions of a particularly interesting motor protein. They report their findings in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

Motorized transport proteins are one of the keys to the development of higher organisms. It is they that enable the cell to transport important substances directly and quickly to a specific location in the cell. As bacteria cannot do this, they are not able to form larger cells or even large organisms with many cells. Particularly important are fast transport proteins in the primary cilia, the cell's antennas, with which they channel information from the surroundings into the cell.

Like trucks on a highway, kinesins transport cellular loads to their destinations. They do this by crawling along protein fibers, so-called microtubules, which extend through the entire cell. Kinesins consist of two long intertwined protein chains. At one end of every protein there is a head that can attach itself to certain structures on the surface of the microtubules; the freight is attached to the other end.

Very special kinesins are at work in the cilia of the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode: they consist of two different protein chains and are therefore especially suitable for investigating the transport mechanisms. As freight, the researchers attached small plastic beads to the ends of these motor proteins. They can manipulate these beads with "optical tweezers," a specially formed laser beam.

One end of the protein molecule was held with the optical tweezers; the other was able to walk on microtubules. This enabled the scientists to measure the force with which the motor protein can pull. In this experimental setup, the kinesin-2 with its freight walks as far as 1,500 nanometers in tiny steps measuring a mere eight nanometers. "If we didn't hold it back, it might still go a lot further," says Zeynep Ökten from the Institute for Cell Biology at LMU.

The kinesin-2 investigated consists of one KLP11 and one KLP20 protein. By exchanging the heads of the chains, the researchers were able to show that KLP11 is a non-processive motor protein. It only becomes a transport protein in combination with KLP20. In further experiments they were able to explain why nature chooses this unusual combination: KLP20 proteins have no "brakes." A transport protein made of two KLP20 units would be permanently on the go and would waste energy. The KLP11, in contrast, has a mechanism called autoinhibition, which makes sure that the transport protein is at a standstill if no freight is attached.

"Our results show that a molecular motor must take on a large number of functions over and above simple transport, if it wants to operate successfully in a cell," says Professor Matthias Rief from the Physics Department of the TU Muenchen. It must be possible to switch the motor on and off, and it must be able to accept a load needed at a specific location and hand it over at the destination. "It is impressive how nature manages to combine all of these functions in one molecule," Rief says. "In this respect it is still far superior to all the efforts of modern nanotechnology and serves as a great example to us all."

This work was supported by funds from the Cluster of Excellence Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM), a Long Term European Molecular Biology Organization fellowship and grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Friedrich-Baur-Stiftung.

Original Publication:

Regulation of a heterodimeric kinesin-2 through an unprocessive motor domain that is turned processive by its partner,
Melanie Brunnbauer, Felix Mueller-Planitz, Süleyman Kösem, Thi-Hieu Hoa, Renate Dombi, J. Christof M. Gebhardt, Matthias Rief, and Zeynep Ökten
PNAS Early Edition, May 17, 2010 - www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1005177107

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Prof. Matthias Rief
Chair for Experimental Physics (E 22)
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
James-Franck-Str. 1, 85748
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 289 12471
Fax: +49 89 289 12523

Copyright © Technische Universitaet Muenchen

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

National Conference on Nanomaterials, (NCN-2017) April 21st, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Better living through pressure: Functional nanomaterials made easy April 19th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Emergency Use Authorization for Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test: FDA Authorization for the Gene-RADAR® Zika Virus Test on the XPRIZE-Winning Gene-RADAR® Platform April 14th, 2017

Academic/Education

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces Total of 172 Teams Selected to Compete in Solar in Your Community Challenge: Teams from 40 states, plus Washington, DC, 2 Territories, and 4 American Indian Reservations, Will Deploy Solar in Underserved Communities April 20th, 2017

Rice crew revved for Nanocar Race: Nanocar creator James Tour and team take on international competition with single-molecule marvel April 20th, 2017

The Catholic University of Rome uses the JPK NanoWizard® AFM & CellHesion® systems to understand how cells sense and respond to mechanical stimuli April 5th, 2017

AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017

Molecular Machines

First 3-D observation of nanomachines working inside cells: Researchers headed by IRB Barcelona combine genetic engineering, super-resolution microscopy and biocomputation to allow them to see in 3-D the protein machinery inside living cells January 27th, 2017

Micro-bubbles make big impact: Research team develops new ultrasound-powered actuator to develop micro robot November 25th, 2016

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future: Researchers from Russia and Ukraine propose a nanosized motor controlled by a laser with potential applications across the natural sciences and medicine November 11th, 2016

HKU chemists develop world's first light-seeking synthetic Nanorobot November 9th, 2016

Announcements

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

National Conference on Nanomaterials, (NCN-2017) April 21st, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

Tools

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

MSP Corporation Announces a New Breakthrough in Monodisperse Droplet Generation April 19th, 2017

Researchers Succeed in Localizing Individual Atoms in Nanostructures Using First Cryo-Transfer LEAP Atom Probe April 19th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Method improves semiconductor fiber optics, paves way for developing devices April 16th, 2017

AIM Photonics Presents Cutting-Edge Integrated Photonics Technology Developments to Packed House at OFC 2017, the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition April 11th, 2017

Photonics breakthough paving the way for improved wireless communication systems: The work could bolster the wireless revolution underway with efficiencies several orders of magnitude April 5th, 2017

Controlling forces between atoms, molecules, promising for ‘2-D hyperbolic’ materials April 4th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project