Role of phosphatidylinositol(4,5)bisphosphate organization in membrane transport by the Unc104 kinesin motor. Academic Article uri icon


  • Unc104 (KIF1A) kinesin transports membrane vesicles along microtubules in lower and higher eukaryotes. Using an in vitro motility assay, we show that Unc104 uses a lipid binding pleckstrin homology (PH) domain to dock onto membrane cargo. Through its PH domain, Unc104 can transport phosphatidylinositol(4,5)bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P2)-containing liposomes with similar properties to native vesicles. Interestingly, liposome movement by monomeric Unc104 motors shows a very steep dependence on PtdIns(4,5)P2 concentration (Hill coefficient of approximately 20), even though liposome binding is noncooperative. This switch-like transition for movement can be shifted to lower PtdIns(4,5)P2 concentrations by the addition of cholesterol/sphingomyelin or GM1 ganglioside/cholera toxin, conditions that produce raft-like behavior of Unc104 bound to lipid bilayers. These studies suggest that clustering of Unc104 in PtdIns(4,5)P2-containing rafts provides a trigger for membrane transport.

publication date

  • May 3, 2002

published in