Robust transport by multiple motors with nonlinear force-velocity relations and stochastic load sharing

Phys Biol. 2010 Feb 10;7(1):16012. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/7/1/016012.

Abstract

Transport by processive molecular motors plays an important role in many cell biological phenomena. In many cases, motors work together to transport cargos in the cell, so it is important to understand the mechanics of the multiple motors. Based on earlier modeling efforts, here we study effects of nonlinear force-velocity relations and stochastic load sharing on multiple motor transport. We find that when two or three motors transport the cargo, then the nonlinear and stochastic effects compensate so that the mechanical properties of the transport are robust. Similarly, the transport is insensitive to compliance of the cargo-motor links. Furthermore, the rate of movement against moderate loads is not improved by increasing the small number of motors. When the motor number is greater than 4, correlations between the motors become negligible, and the earlier analytical mean-field theory of the multiple motor transport holds. We predict that the effective diffusion of the cargo driven by the multiple motors under load increases by an order of magnitude compared to that for the single motor. Finally, our simulations predict that the stochastic effects are responsible for a significant dispersion of velocities generated by the 'tug-of-war' of the multiple opposing motors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Biological*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Stochastic Processes

Substances

  • Molecular Motor Proteins