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Trends Cell Biol. 1996 Apr;6(4):135-41.

Organelle transport along microtubules - the role of KIFs.

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Dept of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan.


Organelle transporters are very important for cellular morphogenesis and other cellular functions, conveying and targeting important materials to the correct destination, often at considerable velocities. One of the first proteins to be identified as a motor was kinesin, and recently at least 10 new kinesin superfamily proteins (KIFs) have been described. Characterization of some of them reveals that each member can convey a specific organelle or cargo, although there is some redundancy. It has also become clear that there are distinct subclasses of KIFs that form monomeric, heterodimeric and homodimeric motors. Here, Nobutaka Hirokawa reviews what is known about the kinesin superfamily and discusses how a study of the different types of motors is helping to elucidate the mechanism of mechanical force generation.

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