Nano-particles carried by multiple dynein motors self-regulate their number of actively participating motors

Gal Halbi, Itay Fayer, Dina Aranovich, Shachar Gat, Shay Bar, Vitaly Erukhimovitch, Rony Granek, Anne Bernheim-Groswasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Intra-cellular active transport by native cargos is ubiquitous. We investigate the motion of spherical nano-particles (NPs) grafted with flexible polymers that end with a nuclear localization signal peptide. This peptide allows the recruitment of several mammalian dynein motors from cyto-plasmic extracts. To determine how motor–motor interactions influenced motility on the single mi-crotubule level, we conducted bead-motility assays incorporating surface adsorbed microtubules and combined them with model simulations that were based on the properties of a single dynein. The experimental and simulation results revealed long time trajectories: when the number of NP-ligated motors Nm increased, run-times and run-lengths were enhanced and mean velocities were somewhat decreased. Moreover, the dependence of the velocity on run-time followed a universal curve, regardless of the system composition. Model simulations also demonstrated left- and right-handed helical motion and revealed self-regulation of the number of microtubule-bound, actively transporting dynein motors. This number was stochastic along trajectories and was distributed mainly between one, two, and three motors, regardless of Nm. We propose that this self-regulation allows our synthetic NPs to achieve persistent motion that is associated with major helicity. Such a helical motion might affect obstacle bypassing, which can influence active transport efficiency when facing the crowded environment of the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8893
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2021


  • Active transport
  • Monte-Carlo simulations
  • Motility assays
  • Multi-motor complex
  • Nano-particles
  • Single particle tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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