The kinesin heterotetramer consists of two heavy and two light chains. Kinesin light chains have been proposed to act in binding motor protein to cargo, but evidence for this has been indirect. A library of monoclonal antibodies directed against conserved epitopes throughout the kinesin light chain sequence were used to map light chain functional architecture and to assess physiological functions of these domains. Immunocytochemistry with all antibodies showed a punctate pattern that was detergent soluble. A monoclonal antibody (KLC-All) made against a highly conserved epitope in the tandem repeat domain of light chains inhibited fast axonal transport in isolated axoplasm by decreasing both the number and velocity of vesicles moving, whereas an antibody against a conserved amino terminus epitope had no effect. KLC-All was equally effective at inhibiting both anterograde and retrograde transport. Neither antibody inhibited microtubule-binding or ATPase activity in vitro. KLC-All was unique among antibodies tested in releasing kinesin from purified membrane vesicles, suggesting a mechanism of action for inhibition of axonal transport. These results provide further evidence that conventional kinesin is a motor for fast axonal transport and demonstrate that kinesin light chains play an important role in kinesin interaction with membranes.