Rigor-type mutation in the kinesin-related protein HsEg5 changes its subcellular localization and induces microtubule bundling

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1998;40(2):174-82. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0169(1998)40:2<174::AID-CM6>3.0.CO;2-F.


HsEg5 is a human kinesin-related motor protein essential for the formation of a bipolar mitotic spindle. It interacts with the mitotic centrosomes in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. To investigate further the mechanisms involved in targetting HsEg5 to the spindle apparatus, we expressed various mutants of HsEg5 in HeLa cells. All these mutants share a mutation of Thr-112 in the N-terminal motor domain, resulting in the inactivation of the ATP binding domain. In vitro, the HsEg5-T112N mutant motor domain showed a nucleotide-independent microtubule association, typical of a kinesin protein binding to microtubules in a rigor state. In vivo, overexpression of the HsEg5 rigor mutant in HeLa cells induced, in interphase, microtubule bundling, and, in mitosis, the formation of monopolar mitotic spindles similar to those observed after microinjection of anti-HsEg5 antibodies. Localization of the HsEg5 rigor mutant on cytoplasmic microtubules did not require the C-terminal tail domain but was lost when the stalk domain was also deleted. Sucrose gradient centrifugation experiments showed that microtubule bundling was most likely caused by the binding of HsEg5 mutants in a dimeric state. These results demonstrate that the precise subcellular localization of HsEg5 in vivo is regulated not only by the phosphorylation of the tail domain but also by the oligomeric state of the protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Interphase / physiology
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Point Mutation*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism*


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate