The role of the dynactin complex in intracellular motility

Int Rev Cytol. 1998;182:69-109. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)62168-3.


Dynactin is a multisubunit complex that binds to the minus-end-directed microtubule motor cytoplasmic dynein and may provide a link between the motor and its cargo. Results from genetic studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa, Aspergillus nidulans, and Drosophila have suggested that cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin function in the same cellular pathways. p150Glued, a vertebrate homologue of the Drosophila gene Glued, is the largest polypeptide in the dynactin complex with multiple protein interactions. Centractin, the most abundant dynactin subunit polypeptide, forms an actin-like filament at the base of the complex. Studies on dynamitin, the 50-kDa dynactin subunit, predict a role for dynactin in mitotic spindle assembly. Other subunits of dynactin have also been cloned and characterized; these studies have provided insight into the role of the complex in essential cellular processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axonal Transport / physiology*
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Dynactin Complex
  • Dyneins / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*


  • Dynactin Complex
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Dyneins