Rotation and translocation of microtubules in vitro induced by dyneins from Tetrahymena cilia. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dynein, the force-generating enzyme that powers the movement of cilia and flagella, has been characterized biochemically, but no simple system has been available for examining its motile properties. Here we describe a quantitative in vitro motility assay in which dynein adsorbed onto a glass surface induces linear translocation of purified bovine microtubules. Using this assay, we show that both 22S and 14S dyneins from Tetrahymena cilia induce movement but have distinct motile properties. A unique property of 14S dynein, which has not been described for other motility proteins, is its ability to generate torque that causes microtubules to rotate during forward translocation. In the axoneme, 14S dynein-induced torque may induce rotation of central-pair microtubules and may play an important role in generating three-dimensional ciliary beating patterns.

publication date

  • February 12, 1988

published in