Temperature-dependent activity of kinesins is regulable

F. Doval, K. Chiba, R. J. McKenney, K. M. Ori-McKenney, M. D. Vershinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cytoskeletal transport in cells is driven by enzymes whose activity shows sensitive, typically Arrhenius, dependence on temperature. Often, the duration and outcome of cargo transport is determined by the relative success of kinesin vs. dynein motors, which can simultaneously bind to individual cargos and move in opposite direction on microtubules. The question of how kinesin and dynein activity remain coupled over the large temperature ranges experienced by some cells is one of clear biological relevance. We report a break in the Arrhenius behavior of both kinesin-1 and kinesin-3 enzymatic activity at 4.7 °C and 10.5 °C, respectively. Further, we report that this transition temperature significantly changes as a function of chemical background: addition of 200 mM TMAO increases transition temperatures by ∼6 °C in all cases. Our results show that Arrhenius trend breaks are common to all cytoskeletal motors and open a broad question of how such activity transitions are regulated in vivo. Statement of significance: Many cytoskeletal motors studied to date follow Arrhenius kinetics, at least from room temperature up to mammalian body temperature. However the thermal dynamic range is typically finite, and breaks in Arrhenius trends are commonly observed at biologically relevant temperatures. Here we report that the thermal dynamic range of kinesins is also limited and moreover that the location of the Arrhenius break for kinesins can shift significantly based on chemical backgrounds. This implies that the balance of multiple motor cargo transport along the cytoskeleton is far more tunable as a function of temperature than previously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-530
Number of pages3
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 30
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhenius
  • Kinesin
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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