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.
Keywords: Kinesin; Microtubule; Mitosis; Phosphorylation; tpx2.
© 2013 Société Française des Microscopies and Société de Biologie Cellulaire de France. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.