X-ray structure and microtubule interaction of the motor domain of Neurospora crassa NcKin3, a kinesin with unusual processivity

Biochemistry. 2008 Feb 19;47(7):1848-61. doi: 10.1021/bi701483h. Epub 2008 Jan 19.


Neurospora crassa kinesin NcKin3 belongs to a unique fungal-specific subgroup of small Kinesin-3-related motor proteins. One of its functions appears to be the transport of mitochondria along microtubules. Here, we present the X-ray structure of a C-terminally truncated monomeric construct of NcKin3 comprising the motor domain and the neck linker, and a 3-D image reconstruction of this motor domain bound to microtubules, by cryoelectron microscopy. The protein contains Mg.ADP bound to the active site, yet the structure resembles an ATP-bound state. By comparison with structures of the Kinesin-3 motor Kif1A in different nucleotide states (Kikkawa, M. et al. (2001) Nature (London, U.K.) 411, 439-445), the NcKin3 structure corresponds to the AMPPCP complex of Kif1A rather than the AMPPNP complex. NcKin3-specific differences in the coordination of the nucleotide and asymmetric interactions between adjacent molecules in the crystal are discussed in the context of the unusual kinetics of the dimeric wild-type motor and the monomeric construct used for crystal structure analysis. The NcKin3 motor decorates microtubules at a stoichiometry of one head per alphabeta-tubulin heterodimer, thereby forming an axial periodicity of 8 nm. In spite of unusual extensions at the N-terminus and within flexible loops L2, L8a, and L12 (corresponding to the K-loop of monomeric kinesins), the microtubule binding geometry is similar to that of other members of the kinesin family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Microtubules / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurospora crassa / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins

Associated data

  • PDB/2OWM