Cargo transport by dynein/dynactin


  • Dr Andrew Carter

    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Project summary

The components in our cells are arranged and moved by motor proteins walking along microtubules. The dynein motor and its cofactor dynactin form a transport machine that travels toward the centre of the cell. It carries many different cargoes, from organelles such as mitochondria to toxic aggregated proteins, and can be hijacked by disease-causing viruses and bacteria.

Many different proteins have been identified as adaptors to link dynein/dynactin to its cargoes. We aim to find out which of these proteins are crucial for transport and find any previously unidentified components. We will use cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray crystallography to understand the structural basis by which the adaptors link dynein/dynactin to cargos. We will use recent advances in cryo-electron tomography to observe how motors are arranged on moving organelles both in vitro and in neurons.

Our work will lay the framework for understanding how dynein connects to its cargoes.