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LIS1 promotes the formation of activated cytoplasmic dynein-1 complexes.


Cytoplasmic dynein-1 is a molecular motor that drives nearly all minus-end-directed microtubule-based transport in human cells, performing functions that range from retrograde axonal transport to mitotic spindle assembly1,2. Activated dynein complexes consist of one or two dynein dimers, the dynactin complex and an 'activating adaptor', and they show faster velocity when two dynein dimers are present3-6. Little is known about the assembly process of this massive ~4 MDa complex. Here, using purified recombinant human proteins, we uncover a role for the dynein-binding protein LIS1 in promoting the formation of activated dynein-dynactin complexes that contain two dynein dimers. Complexes activated by proteins representing three families of activating adaptors-BicD2, Hook3 and Ninl-all show enhanced motile properties in the presence of LIS1. Activated dynein complexes do not require sustained LIS1 binding for fast velocity. Using cryo-electron microscopy, we show that human LIS1 binds to dynein at two sites on the motor domain of dynein. Our research suggests that LIS1 binding at these sites functions in multiple stages of assembling the motile dynein-dynactin-activating adaptor complex.

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