Neuroblast differentiation during development and in neuroblastoma requires KIF1Bβ-mediated transport of TRKA

Genes Dev. 2017 May 15;31(10):1036-1053. doi: 10.1101/gad.297077.117.


We recently identified pathogenic KIF1Bβ mutations in sympathetic nervous system malignancies that are defective in developmental apoptosis. Here we deleted KIF1Bβ in the mouse sympathetic nervous system and observed impaired sympathetic nervous function and misexpression of genes required for sympathoadrenal lineage differentiation. We discovered that KIF1Bβ is required for nerve growth factor (NGF)-dependent neuronal differentiation through anterograde transport of the NGF receptor TRKA. Moreover, pathogenic KIF1Bβ mutations identified in neuroblastoma impair TRKA transport. Expression of neuronal differentiation markers is ablated in both KIF1Bβ-deficient mouse neuroblasts and human neuroblastomas that lack KIF1Bβ. Transcriptomic analyses show that unfavorable neuroblastomas resemble mouse sympathetic neuroblasts lacking KIF1Bβ independent of MYCN amplification and the loss of genes neighboring KIF1B on chromosome 1p36. Thus, defective precursor cell differentiation, a common trait of aggressive childhood malignancies, is a pathogenic effect of KIF1Bβ loss in neuroblastomas. Furthermore, neuropathy-associated KIF1Bβ mutations impede cargo transport, providing a direct link between neuroblastomas and neurodegeneration.

Keywords: KIF1Bβ; NGF; TRKA; chromosome 1p36 loss; neuroblast differentiation; neuroblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Silencing
  • Kinesins / genetics*
  • Kinesins / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / physiopathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neurofibromin 1 / genetics
  • Neurofibromin 1 / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • Receptor, trkA / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / cytology
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • Kif1b protein, mouse
  • Neurofibromin 1
  • Receptor, trkA
  • Kinesins
  • ras Proteins