Early endosomes consist of vacuolar sorting and tubular recycling domains that segregate components fated for degradation in lysosomes or reuse by recycling to the plasma membrane or Golgi. The tubular transport intermediates that constitute recycling endosomes function in cell polarity, migration, and cytokinesis. Endosomal tubulation and fission require both actin and intact microtubules, but although factors that stabilize recycling endosomal tubules have been identified, those required for tubule generation from vacuolar sorting endosomes (SEs) remain unknown. We show that the microtubule motor KIF13A associates with recycling endosome tubules and controls their morphogenesis. Interfering with KIF13A function impairs the formation of endosomal tubules from SEs with consequent defects in endosome homeostasis and cargo recycling. Moreover, KIF13A interacts and cooperates with RAB11 to generate endosomal tubules. Our data illustrate how a microtubule motor couples early endosome morphogenesis to its motility and function.
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