Glutaraldehyde-cross-linked microtubules were investigated as substrates for kinesin motility. Microtubules, formed in vitro from chicken brain tubulin, were stabilized with Taxol and chemically fixed with glutaraldehyde. The degree of tubulin monomer cross-linking as a function of time and glutaraldehyde concentration was characterized using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Atomic force microscopy of fixed microtubules indicated that the cross-linking is sufficient to stabilize the gross structure of the microtubules against air drying or a distilled water challenge. Kinesin movement on immobilized, fixed microtubules was determined using a kinesin- coated bead motility assay observed with differential interference contrast microscopy. Within measurement error, kinesin bead movement velocities were independent of the degree of microtubule cross-linking. Binding affinity, however, decreased with increased cross-linking. Although air- and water- challenged microtubules did not support kinesin motility, a dilute suspension of glutaraldehyde-fixed microtubules in buffer supported kinesin motility for at least 2 days without any substantial degradation of activity. Fixed microtubules may be useful for several applications, including affinity purification of microtubule-associated proteins and motility measurements under extreme conditions of temperature and other variables.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology