Audio / Video

The mechanism of cytoplasmic dynein motility

  • 01:08:43


Cytoplasmic dynein is a molecular motor that transports a multitude of cargos towards the microtubule (MT) minus-end inside cells. The mechanism of dynein motility remained unclear, due to its large size and the complexity of its structure. Using high precision single molecule imaging approaches, we observed that dynein motility is a result of complex structural changes driven by ATP hydrolysis and the mechanism is fundamentally distinct from that of kinesin and myosin motors. The two motor domains (heads) of dynein move independently along the MT. Processivity minimally requires only one active head, provided that its linker is tethered to a MT. The heads experience intramolecular tension through their linker regions when they are separated away from each other. Tension on the linker inhibits ATP-dependent release partially coordinates the motility of the heads. The minus-end directionality is determined by the asymmetric binding and release properties of the MT binding interface. On the basis of these measurements, we developed a quantitative model that describes the basis of dynein processivity, directionality and force generation.



The mechanism of cytoplasmic dynein motility


University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Physics


Berkeley, CA, University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Physics, December 1, 2014

Full Collection Name

Physics Colloquia






1 streaming video file

Other Physical Details

digital, sd., col.


Physics Library


Recorded at a colloquium held on December 1, 2014, sponsored by the Dept. of Physics, University of California, Berkeley.

originally produced as an .mts file in 2014

Speakers: Yildiz, Ahmet.

Usage Statement

Researchers may make free and open use of the UC Berkeley Library’s digitized public domain materials. However, some materials in our online collections may be protected by U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Use or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use (Title 17, U.S.C. § 107) requires permission from the copyright owners. The use or reproduction of some materials may also be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, privacy and publicity rights, or trademark law. Responsibility for determining rights status and permissibility of any use or reproduction rests exclusively with the researcher. To learn more or make inquiries, please see our permissions policies (


Physics Colloquia


colloquia/12-1-14Yildiz.mp4 01:08:43

Linked Resources

View record in Digital Collections.