Structural requirements of chromokinesin Kif4A for its proper function in mitosis

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Aug 1;372(3):454-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.05.065. Epub 2008 May 23.


Human Kif4A is a member of the Kinesin-4 family of kinesins. Kif4A is thought to be a bona fide chromokinesin because it possesses a motor domain and associates with condensed chromosomes during mitosis. Genetic deletion of Kif4A promotes tumorigenic phenotypes in mouse embryonic cells. Kif4A is critical for mitotic regulation including chromosome condensation, spindle organization and cytokinesis. However, the precise chromatin-binding domain of Kif4A has not been characterized. Herein, we report the identification of two conserved motifs critical for chromatin-binding: the first leucine Zip motif (Zip1) of a leucine Zip/Basic/leucine Zip region (ZBZ) previously thought to be a nuclear localization signal (NLS), and a cysteine-rich (CR) motif within the C-terminal region of Kif4A. Furthermore, by depleting endogenous Kif4A via RNAi and concurrently expressing RNAi-resistant Kif4A versions, we observed that wild type Kif4A, but not the mutants deficient in DNA-binding (Zip1 or CR deleted) or ATPase activity (K94A point mutant), was able to rescue the RNAi-elicited abnormal mitotic profile. Taken together, our results show that both the Zip1 and CR motifs are important for Kif4A chromatin-binding and its mitotic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Kinesin / chemistry*
  • Kinesin / genetics
  • Kinesin / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mitosis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • RNA Interference


  • Chromatin
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • KIF4A protein, human
  • Kinesin