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Biomol Concepts. 2012 Jun 1;3(3):267-282.

The kinesin superfamily protein KIF17: one protein with many functions.

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Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Kinesins are ATP-dependent molecular motors that carry cargos along microtubules, generally in an anterograde direction. They are classified into 14 distinct families with varying structural and functional characteristics. KIF17 is a member of the kinesin-2 family that is plus end-directed. It is a homodimer with a pair of head motor domains that bind microtubules, a coiled-coil stalk, and a tail domain that binds cargos. In neurons, KIF17 transports N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor NR2B subunit, kainate receptor GluR5, and potassium Kv4.2 channels from cell bodies exclusively to dendrites. These cargos are necessary for synaptic transmission, learning, memory, and other functions. KIF17's interaction with NXF2 enables the transport of mRNA bidirectionally in dendrites. KIF17 or its homolog OSM-3 also mediates intraflagellar transport of cargos to the distal tips of flagella or cilia, thereby aiding in ciliogenesis. In many invertebrate and vertebrate sensory cells, KIF17 delivers cargos that contribute to chemosensory perception and signal transduction. In vertebrate photoreceptors, KIF17 is necessary for outer segment development and disc morphogenesis. In the testis, KIF17 (KIF17b) mediates microtubule-independent delivery of ACT from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and microtubule-dependent transport of Spatial-ε, both are presumably involved in spermatogenesis. KIF17 is also implicated in epithelial polarity and morphogenesis, placental transport and development, and the development of specific brain regions. The transcriptional regulation of KIF17 has recently been found to be mediated by nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1), which also regulates NR2B as well as energy metabolism in neurons. Dysfunctions of KIF17 are linked to a number of pathologies.


NR2B transport; ciliary transport; kinesin-2 family; microtubules; transcriptional control

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