GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology


Department of Physiology

First Thesis Advisor

Mitsuo Ikebe, Ph.D.


Myosins, Molecular Motor Proteins


Myosin 10 is a vertebrate specific actin-based motor protein that is expressed in a variety of cell types. Cell biological evidences suggest that myosin 10 plays a role in cargo transport and filopodia extension. In order to fully appreciate these physiological processes, it is crucial to understand the motor property of myosin 10. However, little is known about its mechanoenzymatic characteristics. In vitro biochemical characterization of myosin 10 has been hindered by the low expression level of the protein in most tissues. In this study, we succeeded in obtaining sufficient amount of recombinant mammalian myosin 10 using the baculovirus expression system. The movement directionality of the heterologously expressed myosin 10 was determined to be plus end-directed by the in vitro motility assay with polarity-marked actin filament we developed. The result is consistent with the proposed physiological function of myosin 10 as a plus end-directed transporter inside filopodia. The duty ratio of myosin 10 was determined to be 0.6~0.7 by the enzyme kinetic analysis, suggesting that myosin 10 is a processive motor. Unexpectedly, we were unable to confirm the processive movement of dimeric myosin 10 along actin filaments in a single molecule study. The result does not support the proposed function of myosin 10 as a transporter. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is that the apparent nonprocessive nature of myosin 10 is important for generating sufficient force required for the intrafilopodial transport by working in concert with numbers of other myosin 10 molecules while not interfering with each other.

Altogether, the present study provided qualitative and quantitative biochemical evidences for the better understanding of the motor property of myosin 10 and of the biological processes in which it is involved.

Finally, a general molecular mechanism of myosin motors behind the movement directionality and the processivity is discussed based on our results together with the currently available experimental evidences. The validity of the widely accepted ‘leverarm hypothesis’ is reexamined.



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