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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 2;278(18):16159-68. Epub 2003 Feb 19.

Association of kinesin light chain with outer dense fibers in a microtubule-independent fashion.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, 330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.


Conventional kinesin I motor molecules are heterotetramers consisting of two kinesin light chains (KLCs) and two kinesin heavy chains. The interaction between the heavy and light chains is mediated by the KLC heptad repeat (HR), a leucine zipper-like motif. Kinesins bind to microtubules and are involved in various cellular functions, including transport and cell division. We recently isolated a novel KLC gene, klc3. klc3 is the only known KLC expressed in post-meiotic male germ cells. A monoclonal anti-KLC3 antibody was developed that, in immunoelectron microscopy, detects KLC3 protein associated with outer dense fibers (ODFs), unique structural components of sperm tails. No significant binding of KLC3 with microtubules was observed with this monoclonal antibody. In vitro experiments showed that KLC3-ODF binding occurred in the absence of kinesin heavy chains or microtubules and required the KLC3 HR. ODF1, a major ODF protein, was identified as the KLC3 binding partner. The ODF1 leucine zipper and the KLC3 HR mediated the interaction. These results identify and characterize a novel interaction between a KLC and a non-microtubule macromolecular structure and suggest that KLC3 could play a microtubule-independent role during formation of sperm tails.

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