Regulation of Axonal Transport by Protein Kinases

Trends Biochem Sci. 2015 Oct;40(10):597-610. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2015.08.003.


The intracellular transport of organelles, proteins, lipids, and RNA along the axon is essential for neuronal function and survival. This process, called axonal transport, is mediated by two classes of ATP-dependent motors, kinesins, and cytoplasmic dynein, which carry their cargoes along microtubule tracks. Protein kinases regulate axonal transport through direct phosphorylation of motors, adapter proteins, and cargoes, and indirectly through modification of the microtubule network. The misregulation of axonal transport by protein kinases has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several nervous system disorders. Here, we review the role of protein kinases acting directly on axonal transport and discuss how their deregulation affects neuronal function, paving the way for the exploitation of these enzymes as novel drug targets.

Keywords: axonal transport; cytoplasmic dynein; kinesin; neurodegenerative diseases; protein kinases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Axonal Transport / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Dyneins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • Protein Kinases
  • Dyneins