Motor-cargo interactions: the key to transport specificity

Trends Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;12(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(01)02184-5.


Eukaryotic cells organize their cytoplasm by moving different organelles and macromolecular complexes along microtubules and actin filaments. These movements are powered by numerous motor proteins that must recognize their respective cargoes in order to function. Recently, several proteins that interact with motors have been identified by yeast two-hybrid and biochemical analyses, and their roles in transport are now being elucidated. In several cases, analysis of the binding partners helped to identify new transport pathways, new types of cargo, and transport regulated at the level of motor-cargo binding. We discuss here how different motors of the kinesin, dynein and myosin families recognize their cargo and how motor-cargo interactions are regulated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dynactin Complex
  • Dyneins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinesin / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques / trends
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins*
  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins


  • Blood Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dynactin Complex
  • KTN1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • RAB27A protein, human
  • Myosins
  • Dyneins
  • Kinesin
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins