Laboratory of Motor Proteins
Head: Andrzej A. KASPRZAK
Staff: Seweryn Bajer (PhD student), Ewa Szczęsna (PhD student)
Molecular motors are systems of one or several molecules, which are capable of cyclically converting chemical energy derived from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis into mechanical work. The motor protein Ncd, member of kinesin-14 subfamily causes sliding and expansion of an anti-parallel microtubule array by moving one microtu- bule over another. By hydrolyzing one ATP molecule, Ncd generates a force of up to 7 pN and makes an 8-nm step towards the minus end of the microtubule. In the cell, Ncd plays a pivotal role in the maintenance and organization of the mitotic spindle. Our group is concerned with the force generation mechanism by this motor and particularly with the role of subunit interactions in this process. Our work is also focused on the relationship between the type of motility that Ncd exhibits and its behavior and regulation in the cell. To achieve these goals we combine protein engi- neering with advanced microscopic techniques and classical biochemistry
• protein engineering
• in vitro motility measurements of motor proteins
• total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRF)
• fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
Current research activities:
• is the ability of the mitotic kinesin Ncd to recognize the relative orientation of transported microtubules associated with the subunit structure of the motor?
• reconstruction of the microtubule plus-end tracking system of Ncd by EB1. Observation of the transport in vitro using a TIRF microscope
• mapping of the interacting regions on the Ncd-EB1 complex using point mutations in the binding areas
• identification of an Ncd domain responsible for localisation of the motor in the spindle at various stages of cell division
Fink G., Hajdo Ł., Skowronek K.J., Reuther C., Kasprzak A.A., Diez S. (2009) The mitotic kinesin-14 Ncd drives directional micro- tubule-microtubule sliding. Nature Cell Biology, 11: 717-723.
Kocik E., Skowronek K.J., Kasprzak A.A. (2009) Interactions between subunits in heterodimeric Ncd molecules. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284: 35735-35745.
Skowronek K. J., Kocik E., Kasprzak A.A. (2007). Subunits interactions in dimeric kinesins. European Journal of Cell Biology, 86: 559-568.
Kasprzak A.A. (2007) The use of FRET in the analysis of motor protein structure. Methods in Molecular Biology, 392:183-197.
Reuther C., Hajdo Ł., Tucker R., Kasprzak, A. A., Diez S. (2006) Biotemplated nanopatterning of planar surfaces with molecular motors. Nano Letters, 6: 2177-2183.