MINFLUX dissects the unimpeded walking of kinesin-1
Wolff, J. O., Scheiderer, L., Engelhardt, T., Engelhardt, J., Matthias, J., Hell, S. W.
We report on an interferometric MINFLUX microscope that records protein movements with down to 1.7 nm precision within less than 1 ms. While such spatio-temporal resolution has so far required linking a strongly scattering 30-500 nm diameter bead to the much smaller protein, MINFLUX localization requires the detection of only down to 20 photons from an ~1-nm sized fluorophore. Harnessing this resolution, we dissect the unhindered stepping of the motor protein kinesin-1 on microtubules at up to physiological ATP concentrations. By attaching the fluorophore to different kinesin-1 sites and resolving steps and substeps of these protein constructs, we uncover a three dimensional orientation change of the unbound kinesin head. We also find that kinesin 1 takes up ATP while only one head is bound, whereas hydrolysis of ATP occurs with both heads bound to the microtubule, resolving a long-standing conundrum of its mechanochemical cycle. Our results establish MINFLUX as a non-invasive tool for tracking protein movements and probing submillisecond structural rearrangements with nanometer resolution.