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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1999;15:141-83.

The road less traveled: emerging principles of kinesin motor utilization.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0683, USA.


Proteins of the kinesin superfamily utilize a conserved catalytic motor domain to generate movements in a wide variety of cellular processes. In this review, we discuss the rapid expansion in our understanding of how eukaryotic cells take advantage of these proteins to generate force and movement in diverse functional contexts. We summarize several recent examples revealing that the simplest view of a kinesin motor protein binding to and translocating a cargo along a microtubule track is inadequate. In fact, this paradigm captures only a small subset of the many ways in which cells harness force production of the generation of intracellular movements and functions. We also highlight several situations where the catalytic kinesin motor domain may not be used to generate movement, but instead may be used in other biochemical and functional contexts. Finally, we review some recent ideas about kinesin motor regulation, redundancy, and cargo attachment strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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