A specific light chain of kinesin associates with mitochondria in cultured cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The motor protein kinesin is implicated in the intracellular transport of organelles along microtubules. Kinesin light chains (KLCs) have been suggested to mediate the selective binding of kinesin to its cargo. To test this hypothesis, we isolated KLC cDNA clones from a CHO-K1 expression library. Using sequence analysis, they were found to encode five distinct isoforms of KLCs. The primary region of variability lies at the carboxyl termini, which were identical or highly homologous to carboxyl-terminal regions of rat KLC B and C, human KLCs, sea urchin KLC isoforms 1-3, and squid KLCs. To examine whether the KLC isoforms associate with different cytoplasmic organelles, we made an antibody specific for a 10-amino acid sequence unique to B and C isoforms. In an indirect immunofluorescence assay, this antibody specifically labeled mitochondria in cultured CV-1 cells and human skin fibroblasts. On Western blots of total cell homogenates, it recognized a single KLC isoform, which copurified with mitochondria. Taken together, these data indicate a specific association of a particular KLC (B type) with mitochondria, revealing that different KLC isoforms can target kinesin to different cargoes.

publication date

  • February 1998

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