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Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Oct;28(10):558-65.

Biochemical and molecular characterization of diseases linked to motor proteins.

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


Recent studies have revealed that kinesin, dynein and myosin each form large superfamilies and participate in many different intracellular transport systems. Importantly, these motor proteins play significant roles in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. Studies using knockout mice for kinesin KIF1B have led to the identification of the cause of a human hereditary neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A. The function of members of the dynein superfamily whose existence has previously only been confirmed through genome databases, has been revealed by studies of immotile cilia syndrome. Unconventional myosins have been shown to function in the inner-ear cells by examination of hereditary human hearing impairment and studies using mouse models. In addition, some diseases are caused by mutations, not in the motor itself, but in the proteins associated with the motor proteins. Here, we discuss the relationship of these motor proteins and how they contribute to disease in molecular terms.

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