A Combinatorial MAP Code Dictates Polarized Microtubule Transport

Brigette Y. Monroy, Tracy C. Tan, Janah May Oclaman, Jisoo S. Han, Sergi Simó, Shinsuke Niwa, Dan W. Nowakowski, Richard J. McKenney, Kassandra M. Ori-McKenney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Many eukaryotic cells distribute their intracellular components asymmetrically through regulated active transport driven by molecular motors along microtubule tracks. While intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of motor activity exists, what governs the overall distribution of activated motor-cargo complexes within cells remains unclear. Here, we utilize in vitro reconstitution of purified motor proteins and non-enzymatic microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) to demonstrate that MAPs exhibit distinct influences on the motility of the three main classes of transport motors: kinesin-1, kinesin-3, and cytoplasmic dynein. Further, we dissect how combinations of MAPs affect motors and unveil MAP9 as a positive modulator of kinesin-3 motility. From these data, we propose a general “MAP code” that has the capacity to strongly bias directed movement along microtubules and helps elucidate the intricate intracellular sorting observed in highly polarized cells such as neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72.e4
JournalDevelopmental cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 6


  • MAP2
  • MAP7
  • MAP9
  • doublecortin
  • doublecortin-like kinase
  • dynein
  • kinesin
  • microtubule
  • microtubule-associated protein
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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