Tata Institute of Fundamental Research


Roop Mallik

Associate Professor

Biophysics of molecular motor complexes

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

Molecular motors transport material within the cell. These mechanochemical enzymes generate forces of the order of pico-Newtons. Their function is important for the overall organization of the cell. Optical trap based single-molecule in vitro measurements with purified motors have revealed the force, step size and other properties of their motion. However, these measurements are done under artificial conditions. We are working to extend such measurements inside living cells, where several motors with inclination to walk in different directions are simultaneously active on a single cargo. The goal is to understand how the net activity of these motors is regulated to achieve useful directed transport.

Selected Publications

Ashim Rai, Divya Pathak, Shreyasi Thakur, Shampa Singh, Alok Kumar Dubey, Mallik R (2016) Dynein clusters into Lipid Microdomains on Phagosomes to drive Rapid Transport towards Lysosomes. Cell 164: 722–734

Rai AK, Rai A, Ramaiya AJ, Jha R, Mallik R (2013) Molecular adaptations allow dynein to generate large collective forces inside cells. Cell 152: 172

Barak P, Rai A, Rai P, Mallik R (2013) Quantitative optical trapping on single organelles in cell extract. Nature Methods 10: 68

Soppina V, Rai AK, Ramaiya AJ, Barak P, Mallik R (2009) Tug-of-war between dissimilar teams of microtubule motors regulates transport and fission of endosomes. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 19381

Soppina V, Rai AK, Mallik R (2009) Simple non-fluorescent polarity labeling of microtubules for molecular motor assays. Biotechniques 46: 543

Mallik R, Petrov D, Lex SA, King SJ, Gross SP (2005) Building complexity: an in vitro study of cytoplasmic dynein with in vivo implications. Current Biology 15: 2075

Mallik R, Carter BC, Lex SA, King SJ, Gross SP (2004) Cytoplasmic dynein functions as a gear in response to load. Nature 427: 649


  • Room B-305
  • Tel: +91 22 2278 2702
  • roop @ tifr.res.in
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