The developmental biology of kinesins

Dev Biol. 2021 Jan 1:469:26-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.09.009. Epub 2020 Sep 19.


Kinesins are microtubule-based motor proteins that are well known for their key roles in cell biological processes ranging from cell division, to intracellular transport of mRNAs, proteins, vesicles, and organelles, and microtubule disassembly. Interestingly, many of the ~45 distinct kinesin genes in vertebrate genomes have also been associated with specific phenotypes in embryonic development. In this review, we highlight the specific developmental roles of kinesins, link these to cellular roles reported in vitro, and highlight remaining gaps in our understanding of how this large and important family of proteins contributes to the development and morphogenesis of animals.

Keywords: Cilia; Development; Embryo; Kinesin; Microtubule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Cycle
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Cilia / physiology
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kinesins / chemistry
  • Kinesins / physiology*
  • Mitosis
  • Organogenesis


  • Kinesins