Molecular motors often work in teams to move a cellular cargo. Yet measuring the forces exerted by each motor is challenging. Using a sensor made with denatured ssDNA and multi-color fluorescence, we measured picoNewtons of forces and nanometer distances exerted by individual constrained kinesin-1 motors acting together while driving a common microtubule in vitro. We find that kinesins primarily exerted less than 1 pN force, even while the microtubule is bypassing artificial obstacles of 20-100 nanometer size. Occasionally, individual forces increase upon encountering obstacles, although at other times they do not, with the cargo continuing in a directional manner. Our high-throughput technique, which can measure forces by many motors simultaneously, is expected to be useful for many different types of molecular motors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)