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  1. Propofol is a widely used general anesthetic to induce and maintain anesthesia, and its effects are thought to occur through impact on the ligand-gated channels including the GABAAreceptor. Propofol also interacts with a large number of proteins including molecular motors and inhibits kinesin processivity, resulting in significant decrease in the run length for conventional kinesin-1 and kinesin-2. However, the molecular mechanism by which propofol achieves this outcome is not known. The structural transition in the kinesin neck-linker region is crucial for its processivity. In this study, we analyzed the effect of propofol and its fluorine derivative (fropofol) on the transition in the neck-linker region of kinesin. Propofol binds at two crucial surfaces in the leading head: one at the microtubule-binding interface and the other in the neck-linker region. We observed in both the cases the order–disorder transition of the neck-linker was disrupted and kinesin lost its signal for forward movement. In contrast, there was not an effect on the neck-linker transition with propofol binding at the trailing head. Free-energy calculations show that propofol at the microtubule-binding surface significantly reduces the microtubule-binding affinity of the kinesin head. While propofol makes pi–pi stacking and H-bond interactions with the propofol binding cavity, fropofolmore »is unable to make a suitable interaction at this binding surface. Therefore, the binding affinity of fropofol is much lower compared to propofol. Hence, this study provides a mechanism by which propofol disrupts kinesin processivity and identifies transitions in the ATPase stepping cycle likely affected.

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