Redistribution of the kinesin-II subunit KAP from cilia to nuclei during the mitotic and ciliogenic cycles in sea urchin embryos. Academic Article uri icon


  • KAP is the non-motor subunit of the heteromeric plus-end directed microtubule (MT) motor protein kinesin-II essential for normal cilia formation. Studies in Chlamydomonas have demonstrated that kinesin-II drives the anterograde intraflagellar transport (IFT) of protein complexes along ciliary axonemes. We used a green fluorescent protein (GFP) chimera of KAP, KAP-GFP, to monitor movements of this kinesin-II subunit in cells of sea urchin blastulae where cilia are retracted and rebuilt with each mitosis. As expected if involved in IFT, KAP-GFP localized to apical cytoplasm, basal bodies, and cilia and became concentrated on basal bodies of newly forming cilia. Surprisingly, after ciliary retraction early in mitosis, KAP-GFP moved into nuclei before nuclear envelope breakdown, was again present in nuclei after nuclear envelope reformation, and only decreased in nuclei as ciliogenesis reinitiated. Nuclear transport of KAP-GFP could be due to a putative nuclear localization signal and nuclear export signals identified in the sea urchin KAP primary sequence. Our observation of a protein involved in IFT being imported into the nucleus after ciliary retraction and again after nuclear envelope reformation suggests KAP115 may serve as a signal to the nucleus to reinitiate cilia formation during sea urchin development.

publication date

  • October 1, 2004