Building the cilium with ATP-driven molecular motors


The cilium is an antenna-like structure that is crucial for sensing physical and chemical stimuli in eukaryotes. How the cell builds the cilium is a major unsolved question. Central to cilium construction are the molecular motors dynein and kinesin. These motors form oligomeric complexes that transport building blocks to and from the tip of the cilium, powered by ATP hydrolysis. The goal of this project is to use single-molecule fluorescence microscopy and cryo-electron microscopy to dissect the structure of the motor complexes and their mechanism of movement.


Roberts AJ, Kon T, Knight PJ, Sutoh K, Burgess SA (2013) Functions and mechanics of dynein motor proteins. Nature Reviews Molecular Cellular Biology, 14: 713-26.


Ishikawa H, Marshall WF (2011) Ciliogenesis: building the cell's antenna. Nature Reviews Molecular Cellular Biology, 12: 222-34.


Atherton J, Farabella I, Yu IM, Rosenfeld SS, Houdusse A, Topf M, Moores CA (2014) Conserved mechanisms of microtubule-stimulated ADP release, ATP binding, and force generation in transport kinesins. Elife, e03680


Huang J*, Roberts AJ*, Leschziner AE, Reck-Peterson SL (2012) Lis1 acts as a "clutch" between the ATPase and microtubule-binding domains of the dynein motor. Cell, 150: 975-86. *Co-first authors

Biological Areas:

Cell Biology
Structural Biology


Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology