Direct interaction of microtubule- and actin-based transport motors

Nature. 1999 Jan 21;397(6716):267-70. doi: 10.1038/16722.


The microtubule network is thought to be used for long-range transport of cellular components in animal cells whereas the actin network is proposed to be used for short-range transport, although the mechanism(s) by which this transport is coordinated is poorly understood. For example, in sea urchins long-range Ca2+-regulated transport of exocytotic vesicles requires a microtubule-based motor, whereas an actin-based motor is used for short-range transport. In neurons, microtubule-based kinesin motor proteins are used for long-range vesicular transport but microtubules do not extend into the neuronal termini, where actin filaments form the cytoskeletal framework, and kinesins are rapidly degraded upon their arrival in neuronal termini, indicating that vesicles may have to be transferred from microtubules to actin tracks to reach their final destination. Here we show that an actin-based vesicle-transport motor, MyoVA, can interact directly with a microtubule-based transport motor, KhcU. As would be expected if these complexes were functional, they also contain kinesin light chains and the localization of MyoVA and KhcU overlaps in the cell. These results indicate that cellular transport is, in part, coordinated through the direct interaction of different motor molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Escherichia coli
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / physiology
  • Kinesins / genetics
  • Kinesins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / physiology*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains*
  • Myosin Type V*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics


  • Actins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Myo5a protein, mouse
  • Myo5a protein, rat
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Myosin Type V
  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • Kinesins