Non-specific cargo–filament interactions slow down motor-driven transport

Joelle A. Labastide, David A. Quint, Reilly K. Cullen, Bryan Maelfeyt, Jennifer L. Ross, Ajay Gopinathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active, motor-based cargo transport is important for many cellular functions and cellular development. However, the cell interior is complex and crowded and could have many weak, non-specific interactions with the cargo being transported. To understand how cargo-environment interactions will affect single motor cargo transport and multi-motor cargo transport, we use an artificial quantum dot cargo bound with few (~ 1) to many (~ 5–10) motors allowed to move in a dense microtubule network. We find that kinesin-driven quantum dot cargo is slower than single kinesin-1 motors. Excitingly, there is some recovery of the speed when multiple motors are attached to the cargo. To determine the possible mechanisms of both the slow down and recovery of speed, we have developed a computational model that explicitly incorporates multi-motor cargos interacting non-specifically with nearby microtubules, including, and predominantly with the microtubule on which the cargo is being transported. Our model has recovered the experimentally measured average cargo speed distribution for cargo-motor configurations with few and many motors, implying that numerous, weak, non-specific interactions can slow down cargo transport and multiple motors can reduce these interactions thereby increasing velocity. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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