Atlas stumbled: kinesin light chain-1 variant E triggers a vicious cycle of axonal transport disruption and amyloid-β generation in Alzheimer's disease

Bioessays. 2015 Feb;37(2):131-41. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400131. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


Substantial evidence implicates fast axonal transport (FAT) defects in neurodegeneration. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), it is controversial whether transport defects cause or arise from amyloid-β (Aβ)-induced toxicity. Using a novel, unbiased genetic screen, Morihara et al. identified kinesin light chain-1 splice variant E (KLC1vE) as a modifier of Aβ accumulation. Here, we propose three mechanisms to explain this causal role. First, KLC1vE reduces APP transport, leading to Aβ accumulation. Second, reduced transport of APP by KLC1vE triggers an ER stress response that activates the amyloidogenic pathway. Third, KLC1vE impairs transport of other KLC1 cargos that regulate amyloidogenesis, promoting Aβ retention within the secretory pathway. Collectively, KLC1vE perpetuates a vicious cycle of Aβ generation, kinase dysregulation, and global FAT impairment that inevitably leads to cellular toxicity. These concepts implicate alternative splicing of KLC1 in AD and suggest that the reciprocal influence of transport mechanisms on disease states contributes to neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; alternative splicing; amyloid precursor protein; amyloid-β; axonal transport; kinesin; kinesin light chain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Alternative Splicing / physiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinesins / metabolism
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • KLC1 protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Kinesins