Journal of molecular biology

KIF14 binds tightly to microtubules and adopts a rigor-like conformation.

PMID 24949858


The mitotic kinesin motor protein KIF14 is essential for cytokinesis during cell division and has been implicated in cerebral development and a variety of human cancers. Here we show that the mouse KIF14 motor domain binds tightly to microtubules and does not display typical nucleotide-dependent changes in this affinity. It also has robust ATPase activity but very slow motility. A crystal structure of the ADP-bound form of the KIF14 motor domain reveals a dramatically opened ATP-binding pocket, as if ready to exchange its bound ADP for Mg·ATP. In this state, the central β-sheet is twisted ~10° beyond the maximal amount observed in other kinesins. This configuration has only been seen in the nucleotide-free states of myosins-known as the "rigor-like" state. Fitting of this atomic model to electron density maps from cryo-electron microscopy indicates a distinct binding configuration of the motor domain to microtubules. We postulate that these properties of KIF14 are well suited for stabilizing midbody microtubules during cytokinesis.