Kinesin-8s are dual-activity motor proteins that can move processively on microtubules and depolymerize microtubule plus-ends, but their mechanism of combining these distinct activities remains unclear. We addressed this by obtaining cryo-EM structures (2.6–3.9 Å) of Candida albicans Kip3 in different catalytic states on the microtubule lattice and on a curved microtubule end mimic. We also determined a crystal structure of microtubule-unbound CaKip3-ADP (2.0 Å) and analyzed the biochemical activity of CaKip3 and kinesin-1 mutants. These data reveal that the microtubule depolymerization activity of kinesin-8 originates from conformational changes of its motor core that are amplified by dynamic contacts between its extended loop-2 and tubulin. On curved microtubule ends, loop-1 inserts into preceding motor domains, forming head-to-tail arrays of kinesin-8s that complement loop-2 contacts with curved tubulin and assist depolymerization. On straight tubulin protofilaments in the microtubule lattice, loop-2-tubulin contacts inhibit conformational changes in the motor core, but in the ADP-Pi state these contacts are relaxed, allowing neck-linker docking for motility. We propose that these tubulin shape-induced alternations between pro-microtubule-depolymerization and pro-motility kinesin states, regulated by loop-2, are the key to the dual activity of kinesin-8 motors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)