Design and regulation of the AAA+ microtubule motor dynein

J Struct Biol. Apr-May 2004;146(1-2):58-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2003.09.026.


Dyneins are highly complex molecular motors that transport their attached cargo towards the minus end of microtubules. These enzymes are required for many essential motile activities within the cytoplasm and also power eukaryotic cilia and flagella. Each dynein contains one or more heavy chain motor units that consist of an N-terminal stem domain that is involved in cargo attachment, and six AAA+ domains (AAA1-6) plus a C-terminal globular segment that are arranged in a heptameric ring. At least one AAA+ domain (AAA1) is capable of ATP binding and hydrolysis, and the available data suggest that one or more additional domains also may bind nucleotide. The ATP-sensitive microtubule binding site is located at the tip of a 10nm coiled coil stalk that emanates from between AAA4 and AAA5. The function of this motor both in the cytoplasm and the flagellum must be tightly regulated in order to result in useful work. Consequently, dyneins also contain a series of additional components that serve to define the cargo-binding properties of the enzyme and which act as sensors to transmit regulatory inputs to the motor units. Here we describe the two basic dynein designs and detail the various regulatory systems that impinge on this motor within the eukaryotic flagellum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Dyneins / chemistry*
  • Dyneins / metabolism
  • Dyneins / physiology
  • Microtubule Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Protein Conformation


  • Microtubule Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Dyneins