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UNC scientists solve mystery of how largest cellular motor protein powers movement

protein to the distant ATP site.

“This dynein coiled-coil was completely missing from all previous studies. We saw it could allow a very rapid transduction of chemical energy into mechanical energy,?Dokholyan said.

Conversion to mechanical energy allows dynein to transport cellular structures such as mitochondria that perform specific jobs such as energy generation, protein production and cell maintenance. Dynein also helps force apart chromosomes during cell division.

“Dividing cells must separate their chromosomes and something has to generate the force to move chromosomes apart. Dynein provides the mechanical energy to do that,?Doholyan said.

While the research offers no immediate application to human disease, the authors noted that mutations of dynein have been implicated in some neurodegenerative and kidney disorders. Dokholyan pointed out that disruption of dynein’s interaction with a particular regulator protein causes defects in nerve cell transmission and mimics the symptoms of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).


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Source:University of North Carolina School of Medicine


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