Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Molecular Supply Lines

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Science's STKE  13 Jun 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 36, pp. tw5
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.36.tw5

The long processes that characterize neurons reflect their function as processors of information. Signals come in one set of processes, the dendrites, and usually go out a single long process, the axon. The neuron's complicated shape is convenient for information processing, but presents a difficult housekeeping problem for the cell, which must use motors that run along microtubule tracks to supply the ends of the long processes with appropriate proteins. Setou et al. have now identified a new dendrite-specific motor, KIF17, that binds to a complex of proteins on the surface of small vesicles containing one of the key postsynaptic receptors, the NR2B subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. The authors show that KIF17 binds to a PDZ domain in mLIN-10, a protein with multiple protein-interaction domains that exists in a multiprotein complex that includes NR2B. This protein assembly conveys the NR2B receptors to the postsynaptic side of the synapse, where they act as crucial elements for conferring plasticity on the synapse.

Setou, M., Nakagawa, T., Seog, D.-H., and Hirokawa, N. (2000) Kinesin superfamily motor protein KIF17 and mLin-10 in NMDA receptor-containing vesicle transport. Science 288: 1796-1802. [Abstract] [Full Text]

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