Myosin-I molecular motors are proposed to play various cellular roles related to membrane dynamics and trafficking. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we review and illustrate the proposed cellular functions of metazoan myosin-I molecular motors by examining the structural, biochemical, mechanical and cell biological evidence for their proposed molecular roles. We highlight evidence for the roles of myosin-I isoforms in regulating membrane tension and actin architecture, powering plasma membrane and organelle deformation, participating in membrane trafficking, and functioning as a tension-sensitive dock or tether. Collectively, myosin-I motors have been implicated in increasingly complex cellular phenomena, yet how a single isoform accomplishes multiple types of molecular functions is still an active area of investigation. To fully understand the underlying physiology, it is now essential to piece together different approaches of biological investigation. This article will appeal to investigators who study immunology, metabolic diseases, endosomal trafficking, cell motility, cancer and kidney disease, and to those who are interested in how cellular membranes are coupled to the underlying actin cytoskeleton in a variety of different applications.
Keywords: Intracellular trafficking; Membrane deformation; Membrane tension; Molecular motors; Myosin-I; Tension-sensitivity.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.