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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun 19;98(13):7004-11.

All kinesin superfamily protein, KIF, genes in mouse and human.

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Department of Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Intracellular transport is essential for morphogenesis and functioning of the cell. The kinesin superfamily proteins (KIFs) have been shown to transport membranous organelles and protein complexes in a microtubule- and ATP-dependent manner. More than 30 KIFs have been reported in mice. However, the nomenclature of KIFs has not been clearly established, resulting in various designations and redundant names for a single KIF. Here, we report the identification and classification of all KIFs in mouse and human genome transcripts. Previously unidentified murine KIFs were found by a PCR-based search. The identification of all KIFs was confirmed by a database search of the total human genome. As a result, there are a total of 45 KIFs. The nomenclature of all KIFs is presented. To understand the function of KIFs in intracellular transport in a single tissue, we focused on the brain. The expression of 38 KIFs was detected in brain tissue by Northern blotting or PCR using cDNA. The brain, mainly composed of highly differentiated and polarized cells such as neurons and glia, requires a highly complex intracellular transport system as indicated by the increased number of KIFs for their sophisticated functions. It is becoming increasingly clear that the cell uses a number of KIFs and tightly controls the direction, destination, and velocity of transportation of various important functional molecules, including mRNA. This report will set the foundation of KIF and intracellular transport research.

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