Motor protein function

Motor proteins are molecular motors that use ATP hydrolysis to move along cytoskeletal filaments within the cell. They fulfil many functions within biological systems, including controlling the sliding of filaments in muscle contraction and mediating intracellular transport along biopolymer filament tracks.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    An experimental study of living cells suggests that single myosin molecules are capable of generating unusually large forces. The observation is supported by a theoretical model — and demonstrates the complexity of in vivo force generation.

    • Andrew W. Holle
    •  & Ralf Kemkemer
    Nature Physics 15, 628-629
  • News & Views |

    Cytoplasmic dyneins transport cellular components from the periphery toward the center of the cell. By moving cargoes along microtubules, dyneins ensure proper cell division, regulate exchange of materials between organelles, and contribute to the internal organization of eukaryotic cells. Two recent studies show that, upon dimerization, cytoplasmic dyneins intrinsically adopt an autoinhibited configuration that can be relieved by other factors to precisely control motor activity and regulate dynein-based transport.

    • Gaia Pigino
    •  & Stephen M King
  • News & Views |

    A curious peak in the distribution describing stochastic switching in bacterial motility had researchers confounded. But a careful study performed under varying mechanical conditions has now revealed that the breaking of detailed balance is to blame.

    • Yuhai Tu
    Nature Physics 13, 631-632
  • News & Views |

    The detailed mechanism by which the molecular motors kinesin and myosin travel along their respective protein tracks as they generate force during motile processes is still poorly understood. In a recent breakthrough, a crystal structure of kinesin in complex with tubulin illuminates the atomic-level details of a motor-track interaction, answering many questions yet leaving a number of mysteries unresolved.

    • Jared C Cochran
    •  & F Jon Kull