Molecular biology of the cell

Detailed structural and biochemical characterization of the nexin-dynein regulatory complex.

PMID 25411337


The nexin-dynein regulatory complex (N-DRC) forms a cross-bridge between the outer doublet microtubules of the axoneme and regulates dynein motor activity in cilia/flagella. Although the molecular composition and the three-dimensional structure of N-DRC have been studied using mutant strains lacking N-DRC subunits, more accurate approaches are necessary to characterize the structure and function of N-DRC. In this study, we precisely localized DRC1, DRC2, and DRC4 using cryo-electron tomography and structural labeling. All three N-DRC subunits had elongated conformations and spanned the length of N-DRC. Furthermore, we purified N-DRC and characterized its microtubule-binding properties. Purified N-DRC bound to the microtubule and partially inhibited microtubule sliding driven by the outer dynein arms (ODAs). Of interest, microtubule sliding was observed even in the presence of fourfold molar excess of N-DRC relative to ODA. These results provide insights into the role of N-DRC in generating the beating motions of cilia/flagella.