The yeast kinesin-5 Cin8 interacts with the microtubule in a noncanonical manner.

Jared Cochran, Bell KM, Cha HK, Sindelar CV
Publication Date
September 2017

Kinesin motors play central roles in establishing and maintaining the mitotic spindle during cell division. Unlike most other kinesins, Cin8, a kinesin-5 motor in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, can move bidirectionally along microtubules, switching directionality according to biochemical conditions, a behavior that remains largely unexplained. To this end, we used biochemical rate and equilibrium constant measurements as well as cryo-electron microscopy methodologies to investigate the microtubule interactions of the Cin8 motor domain. These experiments unexpectedly revealed that, whereas Cin8 ATPase kinetics fell within measured ranges for kinesins (especially kinesin-5 proteins), approximately four motors can bind each αβ-tubulin dimer within the microtubule lattice. This result contrasted with those observations on other known kinesins, which can bind only a single "canonical" site per tubulin dimer. Competition assays with human kinesin-5 (Eg5) only partially abrogated this behavior, indicating that Cin8 binds microtubules not only at the canonical site, but also one or more separate ("noncanonical") sites. Moreover, we found that deleting the large, class-specific insert in the microtubule-binding loop 8 reverts Cin8 to one motor per αβ-tubulin in the microtubule. The novel microtubule-binding mode of Cin8 identified here provides a potential explanation for Cin8 clustering along microtubules and potentially may contribute to the mechanism for direction reversal.


Bell KM, Cha HK, Sindelar CV, Cochran JC.
J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 1;292(35):14680-14694. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.797662. Epub 2017 Jul 12. PMID: 28701465