Optical traps to study properties of molecular motors

James A. Spudich, Sarah E. Rice, Ronald S. Rock, Thomas J. Purcell, Hans M. Warrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In vitro motility assays enabled the analysis of coupling between ATP hydrolysis and movement of myosin along actin filaments or kinesin along microtubules. Single-molecule assays using laser trapping have been used to obtain more detailed information about kinesins, myosins, and processive DNA enzymes. The combination of in vitro motility assays with laser-trap measurements has revealed detailed dynamic structural changes associated with the ATPase cycle. This article describes the use of optical traps to study processive and nonprocessive molecular motor proteins, focusing on the design of the instrument and the assays to characterize motility

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1318
Number of pages14
JournalCold Spring Harbor Protocols
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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