Multiple kinesin-14 family members drive microtubule minus end-directed transport in plant cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Minus end-directed cargo transport along microtubules (MTs) is exclusively driven by the molecular motor dynein in a wide variety of cell types. Interestingly, during evolution, plants have lost the genes encoding dynein; the MT motors that compensate for dynein function are unknown. Here, we show that two members of the kinesin-14 family drive minus end-directed transport in plants. Gene knockout analyses of the moss Physcomitrella patens revealed that the plant-specific class VI kinesin-14, KCBP, is required for minus end-directed transport of the nucleus and chloroplasts. Purified KCBP directly bound to acidic phospholipids and unidirectionally transported phospholipid liposomes along MTs in vitro. Thus, minus end-directed transport of membranous cargoes might be driven by their direct interaction with this motor protein. Newly nucleated cytoplasmic MTs represent another known cargo exhibiting minus end-directed motility, and we identified the conserved class I kinesin-14 (ATK) as the motor involved. These results suggest that kinesin-14 motors were duplicated and developed as alternative MT-based minus end-directed transporters in land plants.

publication date

  • June 5, 2017