A model for the microtubule-Ncd motor protein complex obtained by cryo-electron microscopy and image analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Kinesin motors convert chemical energy from ATP hydrolysis into unidirectional movement. To understand how kinesin motors bind to and move along microtubules, we fit the atomic structure of the motor domain of Ncd (a kinesin motor involved in meiosis and mitosis) into three-dimensional density maps of Ncd-microtubule complexes calculated by cryo-electron microscopy and image analysis. The model reveals that Ncd shares an extensive interaction surface with the microtubule, and that a portion of the binding site involves loops that contain conserved residues. In the Ncd dimer, the microtubule-bound motor domain makes intimate contact with its partner head, which is dissociated from the microtubule. This head-head interaction may be important in positioning the dissociated head to take a step to the next binding site on the microtubule protofilament.

publication date

  • July 25, 1997

published in