Effectiveness of beads for tracking small-scale molecular motor dynamics

Steven J. Lade*, Erin M. Craig, Heiner Linke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Investigations into molecular motor dynamics are increasingly focused on small-scale features of the motor's motion. We define performance measures of a common type of single-molecule motility assay, the bead assay, for its ability to detect such features. Using numerical models, we explore the dependence of assay performance on a number of experimentally controllable parameters, including bead size, optical force, and the method of attaching the bead to the motor. We find that the best parameter choice depends on the objective of the experiments, and give a guide to parameter selection. Comparison of the models against experimental data from a recent bead assay of myosin V exemplifies how our methods can also be used to extract additional information from bead assays, particularly that related to small-scale features. By analyzing the experimental data we find evidence for previously undetected multiple waiting states of the bead-motor complex. Furthermore, from numerical simulations we find that equilibrium bead dynamics display features previously attributed to aborted motor steps, and that bead dynamics alone can produce multiple subphases during a step.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number021907
    JournalPhysical Review E
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2011


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