Kinesin-driven transport is essential for all eukaryotic life. For a half-micron transport vesicle filled with neurotransmitter to travel the length of a 10mm axon in the brain by passive diffusion would take three years. Attach kinesin molecular motors to the vesicle and it will reach its destination in under three hours. This tremendous gain in speed and efficiency allows eukaryotic cells to be many times larger and more complex than prokaryotic cells, and means that kinesin-driven transport is a core organising principle of eukaryotic life. We are trying to understand how kinesin-microtubule systems generate force and movement, with the aim of understanding their molecular-level function in health and disease.
As part of our mission, we develop new optical microscopes.
Rob Cross CV
Wolman, A.J.M., Sanchez-Cano, C., Carstairs, H.M.J., Cross, R.A. & Turberfield, A.J. (2013)
Transport and self-organization across different length scales powered by motor proteins and programmed by DNA
Nature Nano DOI:10.1038/NNANO.2013.230 [Link]
Grant, B.J., Gheorghe, D., Zheng,W., Alonso, M., Huber, G., Dlugosz,M., McCammon, J.A. & Cross, R.A. (2011)
Electrostatically biased binding of kinesin to microtubules
PLOS Biology 9(11) e1001207. [pdf]
DesGeorges, A., Katsuki, M., Drummond, D.R., Osei, M., Cross, R.A. & Amos, L.A. (2008)
Mal3, the S. pombe homologue of EB1, changes the microtubule lattice
Nature Struc. Mol. Biol. 15 1102-8 [pdf]
Alonso,M.C., Drummond, D.R., Kain, S., Hoeng, J., Amos, L.A. & Cross, R.A. (2007)
An ATP-gate controls tubulin binding by the tethered head of kinesin-1
Science 316 120-123 [pdf]
Carter N.J. & Cross R.A. (2005)
Mechanics of the kinesin step
Nature 435 308-12 [pdf]
>> All publications
I am interested in the molecular mechanisms by which tubulin changes conformation in response to nucleotide turnover and to the binding of small molecules and of kinesin. A major technique is tubulin mutagenesis in S. pombe.
XMAP215 proteins belong to a highly conserved family that promote microtubule growth by up to a factor of 10. I study the mechanism of two S. pombe TOG/XMAP215 homologues - Alp14 and Dis1.
Microtubules switch from slow growth to rapid depolymerisation via a process called catastrophe. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms that underpin microtubule stability and catastrophe.
I am interested in the single molecule mechanics of molecular motors and tracks. I am also designer and developer of the Warwick Open Source Microscope, an ultra stable open source platform for advanced optical microscopy.
I am looking into single molecule mechanochemistry of several kinesins from fission yeast and modelling their behaviour. I am funded by Warwick's MOAC DTC.
I am researching the single molecule behaviour of mitotic kinesins, using laser tweezers. I am funded by Warwick's Systems Biology DTC. My project is in collaboration with the McAinsh lab.
I am analysing and simulating the stepping behaviour of processive kinesins, aiming to make predictions of the behaviour of teams of kinesins. Funded by Warwick's Complexity Complex, cosupervisor Stefan Grosskinsky.