Review: Cytoplasmic dynein motors in photoreceptors

Mol Vis. 2021 Sep 1;27:506-517. eCollection 2021.


Cytoplasmic dyneins (dynein-1 and dynein-2) transport cargo toward the minus end of microtubules and thus, are termed the "retrograde" cellular motor. Dynein-1 cargo may include nuclei, mitochondria, membrane vesicles, lysosomes, phagosomes, and other organelles. For example, dynein-1 works in the cell body of eukaryotes to move cargo toward the microtubule minus end and positions the Golgi complex. Dynein-1 also participates in the movement of chromosomes and the positioning of mitotic spindles during cell division. In contrast, dynein-2 is present almost exclusively within cilia where it participates in retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT) along the axoneme to return kinesin-2 subunits, BBSome, and IFT particles to the cell body. Cytoplasmic dyneins are hefty 1.5 MDa complexes comprised of dimers of heavy, intermediate, light intermediate, and light chains. Missense mutations of human DYNC1H1 are associated with malformations of cortical development (MCD) or spinal muscular atrophy with lower extremity predominance (SMA-LED). Missense mutations in DYNC2H1 are causative of short-rib polydactyly syndrome type III and nonsyndromic retinitis pigmentosa. We review mutations of the two dynein heavy chains and their effect on postnatal retina development and discuss consequences of deletion of DYNC1H1 in the mouse retina.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasmic Dyneins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / metabolism*
  • Retinal Diseases / genetics*


  • Cytoplasmic Dyneins