Microtubule-depolymerizing kinesins

Claire E. Walczak, Sophia Gayek, Ryoma Ohi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton supports a broad range of cellular functions, from providing tracks for intracellular transport, to supporting movement of cilia and flagella, to segregating chromosomes in mitosis. These functions are facilitated by the organizational and dynamic plasticity of MT networks. An important class of enzymes that alters MT dynamics is the depolymerizing kinesin-like proteins, which use their catalytic activities to regulate MT end dynamics. In this review, we discuss four topics surrounding these MT-depolymerizing kinesins. We provide a historical overview of studies focused on these motors and discuss their phylogeny. In the second half, we discuss their enzymology and biophysics and give an overview of their known cellular functions. This discussion highlights the fact that MT-depolymerizing kinesins exhibit a diverse range of design principles, which in turn increases their functional versatility in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-441
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • dynamic instability
  • Kinesin-13
  • Kinesin-8
  • microtubules
  • mitosis
  • motor proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Microtubule-depolymerizing kinesins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this