Myosin V is a left-handed spiral motor on the right-handed actin helix

M. Yusuf Ali, Sotaro Uemura, Kengo Adachi, Hiroyasu Itoh, Kazuhiko Kinosita*, Shin'Ichi Ishiwata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Myosin V is a two-headed, actin-based molecular motor implicated in organelle transport. Previously, a single myosin V molecule has been shown to move processively along an actin filament in discrete ∼36 nm steps. However, 36 nm is the helical repeat length of actin, and the geometry of the previous experiments may have forced the heads to bind to, or halt at, sites on one side of actin that are separated by 36 nm. To observe unconstrained motion, we suspended an actin filament in solution and attached a single myosin V molecule carrying a bead duplex. The duplex moved as a left-handed spiral around the filament, disregarding the right-handed actin helix. Our results indicate a stepwise walking mechanism in which myosin V positions and orients the unbound head such that the head will land at the 11th or 13th actin subunit on the opposing strand of the actin double helix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-467
Number of pages4
JournalNature Structural Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Structural Biology
  • Genetics


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