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Molecular motors from the kinesin superfamily are nanometric machines that move objects along microtubule filaments. While it has been demonstrated that their function is essential for intracellular vesicle trafficking, cell locomotion, and cell division, the mechanism and regulation of their activity have not as yet been established. Our research focuses on the study of kinesin-5 motor proteins, whose function is essential for chromosome segregation during mitotic cell division. Kinesin-5 motors are bipolar homotetramers, with two pairs of catalytic domains located at the opposite sides of the active complex. This special architecture enables these proteins to crosslink and slide antiparallel microtubules, thus performing their essential functions in mitotic spindle dynamics. Our objective is to study their mechanisms and regulation by applying biophysical, biochemical, cell biology, and genetic approaches.

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Specific projects:

·         Directionality regulation through motor clustering and structural adaptation

·         Motile Properties of mitotic kinesin motors from S. cerevisiae

·         Function and structure of a bipolar mitotic kinesin

·         Effect of monastrol, a specific kinesin-5 inhibitor on human cell lines