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    Kinesin-1 and cytoplasmic dynein are microtubule (MT) motors that transport intracellular cargoes. It remains unclear how these motors move along MTs densely coated with obstacles of various sizes in the cytoplasm. Here, we tested the ability of single and multiple motors to bypass synthetic obstacles on MTs in vitro. Contrary to previous reports, we found that single mammalian dynein is highly capable of bypassing obstacles. Single human kinesin-1 motors fail to avoid obstacles, consistent with their inability to take sideways steps on to neighboring MT protofilaments. Kinesins overcome this limitation when working in teams, bypassing obstacles as effectively as multiple dyneins. Cargos driven by multiple kinesins or dyneins are also capable of rotating around the MT to bypass large obstacles. These results suggest that multiplicity of motors is required not only for transporting cargos over long distances and generating higher forces, but also for maneuvering cargos on obstacle-coated MT surfaces. © 2019, Ferro et al.

    Citation

    Luke S Ferro, Sinan Can, Meghan A Turner, Mohamed M ElShenawy, Ahmet Yildiz. Kinesin and dynein use distinct mechanisms to bypass obstacles. eLife. 2019 Sep 09;8

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    PMID: 31498080

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