Motor cooperation in bi-directional early endosome motility
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Chapter was submitted for publication but is not excepted yet
In mammalian cells and fungi, early endosomes form a dynamic compartment that undergoes bi-directional motility along microtubules. Previous work has shown that in the model system Ustilago maydis early endosome motility involves the opposing motor proteins dynein and kinesin-3. Here I performed a detailed analysis of the role of the motors in early endosome motility, using quantitative live cell imaging of kinesin-3, dynein and the endosomal GTPase Rab5a. In the first part of my work, I analysed the role of dynein at MT plus-ends, where the motor forms a strong accumulation that was thought to be involved in capturing early endosomes. I could demonstrate that ~55 dynein motors build up the dynein accumulation. In collaboration with Ms. Congping Lin and Prof. Peter Ashwin (Institute for Mathematics, Exeter), I found theoretical evidence that ~25 dynein motors concentrate and leave the plus-ends stochastically. In addition, dynein motors are captured by an interaction of dynactin and the plus-end binding protein EB1. Together both mechanisms increase the number of motors, which ensures that EEs will be loaded onto dynein before they reach the end of their track. In a second project, I provide evidence that loading of dynein is not restricted to the plus-ends. Instead, dynein leaves the plus-ends and is able to bind to kinesin-3 delivered early endosomes, which changes their transport direction from anterograde to retrograde. Kinesin-3 remains bound to these retrograde EEs. When dynein leaves the organelle, it switches back to anterograde motility. Interestingly, a single dynein wins over three to five kinesin-3 motors. I discuss these findings in the light of current motor cooperation concepts. In a third part, I demonstrated that kinesin-3 has an unexpected role in long-range retrograde endosome motility. In contrast, dynein is only responsible for the distal 10-20 µm. This is possible because most of the hyphal cells contain a symmetric and bi-polar MT array. This MT organization is reminiscent of that in dendrites. Kinesin-3-based retrograde motility is required to mix the organelles and might support long-range communication between both cell poles.
PhD in Biological Sciences