Effect of (2)H and (18)O water isotopes in kinesin-1 gliding assay

PeerJ. 2014 Mar 25:2:e284. doi: 10.7717/peerj.284. eCollection 2014.


We show for the first time the effects of heavy-hydrogen water ((2)H2O) and heavy-oxygen water (H2 (18)O) on the gliding speed of microtubules on kinesin-1 coated surfaces. Increased fractions of isotopic waters used in the motility solution decreased the gliding speed of microtubules by a maximum of 21% for heavy-hydrogen and 5% for heavy-oxygen water. We also show that gliding microtubule speed returns to its original speed after being treated with heavy-hydrogen water. We discuss possible interpretations of these results and the importance for future studies of water effects on kinesin and microtubules. We also discuss the implication for using heavy waters in biomolecular devices incorporating molecular motors.

Keywords: Gliding motility assay; Heavy-water; Kinesin-1; Microtubules.

Grants and funding

This study was funded by a DTRA grant: HDTRA-1-09-1-0018 and an INCBN grant from the NSF: DGE-0549500. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.