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Kinesins are molecular motors that travel along microtubules through a nucleotide-dependent stepping mechanism. Here the authors present the crystal structure of Zen4 (kinesin-6) in an apo state that sheds light on a key stepping intermediate of kinesin.
The ciliary transition zone (TZ) regulates the protein and membrane composition of the primary cilium. Here the authors identify the kinesin-3 motor protein KIF13B as a regulator of TZ membrane composition that controls the ciliary accumulation of Smoothened, which is involved in activation of Sonic hedgehog signalling.
Kinesin-14s are commonly considered to be minus end-directed microtubule motor proteins. Here the authors show that KlpA, a fungal kinesin-14 orthologue, relies on its N-terminal nonmotor microtubule-binding tail to achieve context-dependent bidirectional motility.
The kinesin-4 motor protein Kif7 regulates Hedgehog signalling at cilia in mammals by controlling the activity of Gli transcription factors. Kif7 is now found to inhibit microtubule growth to restrict and coordinate the length of axonemal microtubules at the ciliary tip. Such Kif7-mediated organization of the ciliary tip compartment regulates Gli activity and is proposed to be required for correct Hedgehog signalling.
Mitosis depends upon the action of the mitotic spindle, a subcellular machine that uses microtubules (MTs) and motors to assemble itself and to coordinate chromosome segregation. Recent work illuminates how the motor-driven poleward sliding of MTs — nucleated at centrosomes, chromosomes and on pre-existing MTs — contributes to spindle assembly and length control.
Multiple activities cooperate to determine the architecture of the mitotic spindle. Kip3 is a kinesin-8 motor protein in budding yeast that acts as a microtubule depolymerase. Now Kip3 is shown to also crosslink and slide antiparallel microtubules, providing additional insights into how kinesin-8 motors control spindle integrity.