Allele-specific activators and inhibitors for kinesin. Academic Article uri icon


  • Members of the kinesin superfamily are force-generating ATPases that drive movement and influence cytoskeleton organization in cells. Often, more than one kinesin is implicated in a cellular process, and many kinesins are proposed to have overlapping functions. By using conventional kinesin as a model system, we have developed an approach to activate or inhibit a specific kinesin allele in the presence of other similar motor proteins. Modified ATP analogs are described that do not activate either conventional kinesin or another superfamily member, Eg5. However, a kinesin allele with Arg-14 in its nucleotide binding pocket mutated to alanine can use a subset of these nucleotide analogs to drive microtubule gliding. Cyclopentyl-ATP is one such analog. Cyclopentyl-adenylylimidodiphosphate, a nonhydrolyzable form of this analog, inhibits the mutant allele in microtubule-gliding assays, but not wild-type kinesin or Eg5. We anticipate that the incorporation of kinesin mutants and allele-specific activators and inhibitors in in vitro assays should clarify the role of individual motor proteins in complex cellular processes.

publication date

  • August 3, 1999