Kinesin-related gene unc-104 is required for axonal transport of synaptic vesicles in C. elegans

Cell. 1991 May 31;65(5):837-47. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(91)90391-b.


unc-104 encodes a novel kinesin paralog that may act as a microtubule-based motor in the nervous system. Neuronal cell lineages and axonogenesis are normal in unc-104 null mutants, but axons have few synaptic vesicles and make only a few small synapses. By contrast, neuron cell bodies have surfeits of similar vesicles tethered together within the cytoplasm. Based on behavioral and cellular phenotypes, we suggest that UNC-104 is a neuron-specific motor used for anterograde translocation of synaptic vesicles along axonal microtubules. Other membrane-bounded organelles are transported normally.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis / growth & development
  • Caenorhabditis / physiology*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / physiology
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Fertility
  • Genes*
  • Kinesin
  • Larva
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubule Proteins / genetics*
  • Movement
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Mutation
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology*


  • Microtubule Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Kinesin