The EMBO journal

Microtubule-binding protein doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) guides kinesin-3-mediated cargo transport to dendrites.

PMID 26758546


In neurons, the polarized distribution of vesicles and other cellular materials is established through molecular motors that steer selective transport between axons and dendrites. It is currently unclear whether interactions between kinesin motors and microtubule-binding proteins can steer polarized transport. By screening all 45 kinesin family members, we systematically addressed which kinesin motors can translocate cargo in living cells and drive polarized transport in hippocampal neurons. While the majority of kinesin motors transport cargo selectively into axons, we identified five members of the kinesin-3 (KIF1) and kinesin-4 (KIF21) subfamily that can also target dendrites. We found that microtubule-binding protein doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) labels a subset of dendritic microtubules and is required for KIF1-dependent dense-core vesicles (DCVs) trafficking into dendrites and dendrite development. Our study demonstrates that microtubule-binding proteins can provide local signals for specific kinesin motors to drive polarized cargo transport.