by Andre on 1 March 2009
I’m in Boston this weekend for the annual Biophysical Society Meeting and I just got out of the session on motility. There were two great talks on the microtubule associated proteins dyneine and kinesin, something I’m interested in from my work with Igor [pdf].
The first was a very thorough talk from Arne Gennerich, who is currently setting up his lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (as he pointed out at the end of his talk, postdoc positions are available!). He used optical trapping to probe the force-dependent stepping behaviour of single dyneines. At zero force, dyneine can take many steps in a row in one direction along a microtubule usually advancing about 8 nm per step. One of their interesting results was that the number of large (~24 nm) steps actually increases when a rearward force is applied to the motor. This may be due to a force-induced unstacking of the two legs that frees them to take longer steps. For details you can check out their paper in Cell from 2007 [pdf].
Another nice talk was from Stefan Diez at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. They used some modern microfabrication and microscopy techniques to squeeze out more interesting results from a microtubule gliding assay. I love these gliding movies anyway, but they really look cool with some of the Diez group’s embellishments:
I’ll be at the meeting until Wednesday, so stay tuned for more. If you’re in the Boston area and want to meet just drop me an e-mail.