Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Kinesin’s Front Head Is Gated by the Backward Orientation of Its Neck Linker


Kinesin-1 is a two-headed motor that takes processive 8-nm hand-over-hand steps and transports intracellular cargos toward the plus-end of microtubules. Processive motility requires a gating mechanism to coordinate the mechanochemical cycles of the two heads. Kinesin gating involves neck linker (NL), a short peptide that interconnects the heads, but it remains unclear whether gating is facilitated by the NL orientation or tension. Using optical trapping, we measured the force-dependent microtubule release rate of kinesin monomers under different nucleotide conditions and pulling geometries. We find that pulling NL in the backward direction inhibits nucleotide binding and subsequent release from the microtubule. This inhibition is independent of the magnitude of tension (2-8 pN) exerted on NL. Our results provide evidence that the front head of a kinesin dimer is gated by the backward orientation of its NL until the rear head releases from the microtubule.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View