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Röhlk, Christian (2007): Characterization of conventional kinesins Kif3 and Kif5 from Dictyostelium discoideum. Dissertation, LMU München: Fakultät für Biologie



The cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum contains a total number of 13 kinesins. Two of them, kinesins Kif3 and Kif5, represent the Kinesin-1 family (formerly conventional kinesins) in D. discoideum whose members are dimeric molecular motors that move as single molecules micrometer-long distances on microtubules by using the energy from ATP hydrolysis. In this study constructs of both kinesins were expressed in E. coli, purified, and tested in biochemical assays. A GFP-fusion protein of Kif3 revealed an overall cytoplasmic localization with accumulations that could not be assigned to a specific cellular structure or vesicle. Using immunofluorescence staining an association with the endoplasmic reticulum or mitochondria was ruled out. Full-length and truncated Kif3 motors were active in gliding and ATPase assays. They showed a strong dependence on ionic strength. Like the full-length motor, the truncated Kif3-592 motor (amino acids 1-592; comprising motor domain, neck and partial stalk) reached its maximum speed of around 2.0 µms-1 at a potassium acetate concentration of 200 mM. The velocity from the microtubule-gliding assay was confirmed using kinesin labeled with Q-Dots. The shortened Kif3-342 motor (amino acids 1-342; comprising motor domain, partial neck) and the Kif3-592 construct showed an ATP turnover comparable to the fungal Nkin motor. Kif3-full-length displayed less activity in ATPase assays, possibly resulting from tail-motor inhibition. Results from the duty ratio calculations and single-molecule gliding assays indicated that Kif3 is a processive enzyme. Overall, D. discoideum’s Kif3 revealed a closer similarity to fungal rather than animal kinesins. The truncated motor Kif5-476 (amino acids 1-476; comprising motor domain, neck and partial stalk) turned out to bind microtubules, but was immotile in gliding assays. Still, this construct, as well as the shorter variant Kif5-353 (amino acids 1-353; comprising motor domain), showed activity in ATPase assays, indicating that a significant portion of the isolated protein was active. Unlike Kif3, the Kif5 motor protein was sensitive to potassium-acetate concentrations exceeding 25 mM and lost its capability to bind microtubules with increasing ionic strength. D. discoideum knockout strains showed no apparent phenotype under standard culture conditions or during development. Merely a reduced growth speed was observed in submerged cultures of kif5-null cells. A GFP-Kif5 construct showed a strong accumulation in the cell’s peripheries, in agreement with previous reports. Microtubule recovery experiments after nocodazole treatment did not reveal any significant differences between wild type and knockout strains, arguing against an influence of Kif5 on microtubule organization.