The crowding dynamics of the motor protein kinesin-II

Vandana S. Kushwaha, Seyda Acar, Daniël M. Miedema, Dmitry V. Denisov, Peter Schall, Erwin J.G. Peterman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Intraflagellar transport (IFT) in C. elegans chemosensory cilia is an example of functional coordination and cooperation of two motor proteins with distinct motility properties operating together in large groups to transport cargoes: a fast and processive homodimeric kinesin-2, OSM-3, and a slow and less processive heterotrimeric kinesin-2, kinesin-II. To study the mechanism of the collective dynamics of kinesin-II of C. elegans cilia in an in vitro system, we used Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence microscopy to image the motility of truncated, heterodimeric kinesin-II constructs at high motor densities. Using an analysis technique based on correlation of the fluorescence intensities, we extracted quantitative motor parameters, such as motor density, velocity and average run length, from the image. Our experiments and analyses show that kinesin-II motility parameters are far less affected by (self) crowding than OSM-3. Our observations are supported by numerical calculations based on the TASEP-LK model (Totally Asymmetric Simple Exclusion Process-Langmuir Kinetics). From a comparison of data and modelling of OSM-3 and kinesin-II, a general picture emerges of the collective dynamics of the kinesin motors driving IFT in C. elegans chemosensory cilia and the way the motors deal with crowding.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228930
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020


A grant from the Complexity Initiative of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Recipient PS, Project number 645.000.014. NWO VICI grant. Recipient PS. Number 680-47-615 NWO VICI grant. Recipient EJGP Number: 680-47-606 “Barriers in the Brain” from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). Recipient EJGP. Number: Program nr. 137 11BIB01 Website: The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We thank Prof.dr. Bernard Nienhuis (University of Amsterdam) for discussions and his involvement in earlier stages of this project.

FundersFunder number
Stichting voor Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek645.000.014


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