The goal of this protocol is to form ensembles of molecular motors on DNA origami nanostructures and observe the ensemble motility using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy.
Cytoskeletal motors are responsible for a wide variety of functions in eukaryotic cells, including mitosis, cargo transport, cellular motility, and others. Many of these functions require motors to operate in ensembles. Despite a wealth of knowledge about the mechanisms of individual cytoskeletal motors, comparatively less is known about the mechanisms and emergent behaviors of motor ensembles, examples of which include changes to ensemble processivity and velocity with changing motor number, location, and configuration. Structural DNA nanotechnology, and the specific technique of DNA origami, enables the molecular construction of well-defined architectures of motor ensembles. The shape of cargo structures as well as the type, number and placement of motors on the structure can all be controlled. Here, we provide detailed protocols for producing these ensembles and observing them using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. Although these techniques have been specifically applied for cytoskeletal motors, the methods are generalizable to other proteins that assemble in complexes to accomplish their tasks. Overall, the DNA origami method for creating well-defined ensembles of motor proteins provides a powerful tool for dissecting the mechanisms that lead to emergent motile behavior.
Biochemistry, Issue 152, cytoskeleton, dynein, kinesin, molecular motors, DNA origami, single molecule methods
Copyright © 2019 Journal of Visualized Experiments
Hu, Jingjie and Derr, Nathan, "Production of Dynein and Kinesin Motor Ensembles on DNA Origami Nanostructures for Single Molecule Observation" (2019). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.