Date Published:8 Aug, 2016
Fluctuations in the physical properties of biological machines are inextricably linked to their functions. Distributions of run lengths and velocities of processive molecular motors, like kinesin-1, are accessible through single-molecule techniques, but rigorous theoretical models for these probabilities are lacking. Here, we derive exact analytic results for a kinetic model to predict the resistive force (F)-dependent velocity [P(v)] and run length [P(n)] distribution functions of generic finitely processive molecular motors. Our theory quantitatively explains the zero force kinesin-1 data for both P(n) and P(v) using the detachment rate as the only parameter. In addition, we predict the F dependence of these quantities. At nonzero F, P(v) is non-Gaussian and is bimodal with peaks at positive and negative values of v, which is due to the discrete step size of kinesin-1. Although the predictions are based on analyses of kinesin-1 data, our results are general and should hold for any processive motor, which walks on a track by taking discrete steps.