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Biol Cell. 2014 Jan;106(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/boc.201300054. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

Mechanism and regulation of kinesin-5, an essential motor for the mitotic spindle.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 60611, U.S.A.


Mitotic cell division is the most fundamental task of all living cells. Cells have intricate and tightly regulated machinery to ensure that mitosis occurs with appropriate frequency and high fidelity. A core element of this machinery is the kinesin-5 motor protein, which plays essential roles in spindle formation and maintenance. In this review, we discuss how the structural and mechanical properties of kinesin-5 motors uniquely suit them to their mitotic role. We describe some of the small molecule inhibitors and regulatory proteins that act on kinesin-5, and discuss how these regulators may influence the process of cell division. Finally, we touch on some more recently described functions of kinesin-5 motors in non-dividing cells. Throughout, we highlight a number of open questions that impede our understanding of both this motor's function and the potential utility of kinesin-5 inhibitors.


Kinesin; Microtubule; Mitosis; Phosphorylation; tpx2

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