Molecular motors in neurons: Transport mechanisms and roles in brain function, development, and disease

Nobutaka Hirokawa, Shinsuke Niwa, Yosuke Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

659 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The kinesin, dynein, and myosin superfamily molecular motors have fundamental roles in neuronal function, plasticity, morphogenesis, and survival by transporting cargos such as synaptic vesicle precursors, neurotransmitter and neurotrophic factor receptors, and mRNAs within axons, dendrites, and synapses. Recent studies have begun to clarify the mechanisms of cargo selection and directional transport in subcellular compartments. Furthermore, molecular genetics has revealed unexpected roles for molecular motors in brain wiring, neuronal survival, neuronal plasticity, higher brain function, and control of central nervous system and peripheral nervous system development. Finally, it is also evident that molecular motors are critically involved in neuronal disease pathogenesis. Thus, molecular motor research is becoming an exciting frontier of neuroscience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-638
Number of pages29
JournalNeuron
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 18
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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