Combinatorial regulation of the balance between dynein microtubule end accumulation and initiation of directed motility

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Cytoplasmic dynein is involved in a multitude of essential cellular functions. Dynein's activity is controlled by the combinatorial action of several regulatory proteins. The molecular mechanism of this regulation is still poorly understood. Using purified proteins, we reconstitute the regulation of the human dynein complex by three prominent regulators on dynamic microtubules in the presence of end binding proteins (EBs). We find that dynein can be in biochemically and functionally distinct pools: either tracking dynamic microtubule plus-ends in an EB-dependent manner or moving processively towards minus ends in an adaptor protein-dependent manner. Whereas both dynein pools share the dynactin complex, they have opposite preferences for binding other regulators, either the adaptor protein Bicaudal-D2 (BicD2) or the multifunctional regulator Lissencephaly-1 (Lis1). BicD2 and Lis1 together control the overall efficiency of motility initiation. Remarkably, dynactin can bias motility initiation locally from microtubule plus ends by autonomous plus-end recognition. This bias is further enhanced by EBs and Lis1. Our study provides insight into the mechanism of dynein regulation by dissecting the distinct functional contributions of the individual members of a dynein regulatory network.

Journal details

Journal EMBO Journal
Volume 36
Issue number 22
Pages 3387-3404
Available online
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities

Acknowledged team