Microtubule-based transport systems in neurons: the roles of kinesins and dyneins

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000;23:39-71. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.23.1.39.


The large size and extreme polarization of neurons is crucial to their ability to communicate at long distances and to form the complex cellular networks of the nervous system. The size, shape, and compartmentalization of these specialized cells must be generated and supported by the cytoskeletal systems of intracellular transport. One of the major systems is the microtubule-based transport system along which kinesin and dynein motor proteins generate force and drive the traffic of many cellular components. This review describes our current understanding of the functions of kinesins and dyneins and how these motor proteins may be harnessed to generate some of the unique properties of neuronal cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / physiology
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dyneins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinesins / physiology*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism


  • Dyneins
  • Kinesins