Walking Forward with Kinesin

Trends Neurosci. 2018 Sep;41(9):555-556. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.07.006.


Active intracellular transport of organelles relies on the coordinated activities of cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin, ATP-dependent microtubule motor proteins. While axonemal dynein was discovered during the mid-1960s, it was not until the mid-1980s that kinesin was discovered by Ron Vale and colleagues, as reported in 1985. Their research demonstrated that the newly identified protein, isolated from both squid axoplasm and bovine brain, was independently capable of driving microtubule gliding or organelle movement. These findings kicked off rapid progress in the fields of physiology and neuroscience, leading to the identification of the many members of the extended kinesin superfamily, as well as detailed explorations of their biophysical properties, cellular mechanisms of action, and roles in disease.

Keywords: axonal transport; dynein; kinesin; microtubule motor proteins; organelle trafficking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Dyneins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinesin / physiology*
  • Organelles / physiology


  • Dyneins
  • Kinesin