Tau proteins bind to kinesin and modulate its activation by microtubules

Neurobiology (Bp). 1996;4(4):417-29.


Microtubule-associated tau proteins are likely candidates to interfere with axonal transport of membranous organelles. We studied that tau proteins influenced the enzyme activity of kinesin, known to drive anterograd transport along microtubules. An in vitro reconstituted system was applied; microtubules were assembled from purified tubulin with or without tau proteins. Both types of reconstituted microtubules stimulated MgATPase activity of purified kinesin in a concentration dependent, saturable manner. The extent of maximal stimulation by tau-coated microtubules was lower than that of microtubules without tau proteins. Analysis of kinetic data, on the other hand, suggests that tau-coated microtubules apparently bind kinesin with higher affinity then microtubules not associated with tau proteins. Tau proteins, similarly to tubulin dimers, seem to bind to the heavy chain of kinesin. These data support the notion that tau proteins could act as regulators of kinesin-driven processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Ca(2+) Mg(2+)-ATPase / isolation & purification
  • Ca(2+) Mg(2+)-ATPase / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kinesin / isolation & purification
  • Kinesin / metabolism*
  • Kinesin / pharmacology
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubules / enzymology
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • tau Proteins / isolation & purification
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • tau Proteins
  • Ca(2+) Mg(2+)-ATPase
  • Kinesin