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Mol Biol Cell. 1999 Feb;10(2):345-60.

Two heteromeric kinesin complexes in chemosensory neurons and sensory cilia of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Chemosensation in the nervous system of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans depends on sensory cilia, whose assembly and maintenance requires the transport of components such as axonemal proteins and signal transduction machinery to their site of incorporation into ciliary structures. Members of the heteromeric kinesin family of microtubule motors are prime candidates for playing key roles in these transport events. Here we describe the molecular characterization and partial purification of two heteromeric kinesin complexes from C. elegans, heterotrimeric CeKinesin-II and dimeric CeOsm-3. Transgenic worms expressing green fluorescent protein driven by endogenous heteromeric kinesin promoters reveal that both CeKinesin-II and CeOsm-3 are expressed in amphid, inner labial, and phasmid chemosensory neurons. Additionally, immunolocalization experiments on fixed worms show an intense concentration of CeKinesin-II and CeOsm-3 polypeptides in the ciliated endings of these chemosensory neurons and a punctate localization pattern in the corresponding cell bodies and dendrites. These results, together with the phenotypes of known mutants in the pathway of sensory ciliary assembly, suggest that CeKinesin-II and CeOsm-3 drive the transport of ciliary components required for sequential steps in the assembly of chemosensory cilia.

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