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J. Cell Sci. 116 (11): 2125-2135


Trafficking of signaling modules by kinesin motors

Bruce J. Schnapp

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR 97201-3098, USA

(e-mail: schnappb{at}

Abstract: The human genome has more than 40 kinesin genes whose protein products organize intracellular traffic along microtubules. Research during the past two years has begun to elucidate the cargoes carried by kinesins and the nature of the kinesin-cargo linkage. Modular protein-protein interactions connect kinesins to diverse cellular molecules, which, apart from their other functions, serve as kinesin-cargo linkers. Many of these newly identified linkers are scaffolds for signaling pathways, and mounting evidence now indicates that kinesins transport pre-assembled signaling modules as vesicular cargo. These findings bring together two fields, signal transduction and molecular motors, and lead to a deeper understanding of the interplay between trafficking, localization and intercellular communication.

Key Words: Kinesin • Scaffold • Signal transduction • Motors • Cytoskeleton • Protein trafficking

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