Kar3 is a minus-end directed microtubule motor involved in meiosis and mitosis in Saccharomyces cerevisae. Unlike Drosophila Ncd, the other well characterized minus-end directed motor that is a homodimer, Kar3 is a heterodimer with a single motor domain and either the associated polypeptides Cik1 or Vik1. Our mechanistic studies with Ncd showed that both motor domains were required for ATP-dependent motor domain detachment from the microtubule. We have initiated a series of experiments to compare the mechanistic requirements for Kar3 motility in direct comparison to Ncd. The results presented here show that the single motor domain of Kar3 (Met(383)-Lys(729)) exhibits characteristics similar to monomeric Ncd. The microtubule-activated steady-state ATPase cycle of Kar3 (k(cat) = 0.5 s(-1)) is limited by ADP release (0.4 s(-1)). Like monomeric Ncd, Kar3 does not readily detach from the microtubule with the addition of MgATP. These results show that the single motor domain of Kar3 is not sufficient for ATP-dependent microtubule dissociation, suggesting that structural elements outside of the catalytic core are required for the cyclic interactions with the microtubule for force generation.
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