A programmable DNA origami shuttle to study the dynamics of motor protein ensembles

26 Oct 2012

Samara Reck-Peterson
Department of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School


Bi-directional microtubule-based transport in eukaryotic cells drives the movement of intracellular components, allowing cells to move, divide, communicate with neighboring cells, and maintain cellular homeostasis. We built a system composed of both biological and synthetic parts to determine how the opposite-polarity molecular motors dynein and kinesin achieve bi-directional transport of cargo on microtubules. We used three-dimensional DNA origami to build a synthetic cargo structure, to which cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin-1 motors can be linked. The modularity of DNA origami allows us to control cargo size and shape and precisely encode the type, number, density, and spacing of motors. I will discuss our recent empirical studies, which investigate how motor number and type affects cargo movement in vitro.

current theory lunch schedule