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Microtubule plus‐end directed trafficking is dominated by kinesin motors, yet kinesins differ in terms of cargo identity, movement rate, and distance travelled. Functional diversity of kinesins is especially apparent in polarized neurons, where long distance trafficking is required for efficient signal transduction‐behavioral response paradigms. The Kinesin‐3 superfamily are expressed in neurons and are hypothesized to have significant roles in neuronal signal transduction due to their high processivity. Although much is known about Kinesin‐3 motors mechanistically in vitro, there is little known about their mechanisms in vivo. Here, we analyzed KLP‐4, the Caenorhabditis elegans homologue of human KIF13A and KIF13B. Like other Kinesin‐3 superfamily motors, klp‐4 is highly expressed in the ventral nerve cord command interneurons of the animal, suggesting it might have a role in controlling movement of the animal. We characterized an allele of klp‐4 that contains are large indel in the cargo binding domain of the motor, however, the gene still appears to be expressed. Behavioral analysis demonstrated that klp‐4 mutants have defects in locomotive signaling, but not the strikingly uncoordinated movements such as those found in unc‐104/KIF1A mutants. Animals with this large deletion are hypersensitive to the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor aldicarb but are unaffected by exogenous serotonin. Interestingly, this large klp‐4 indel does not affect gross neuronal development but does lead to aggregation and disorganization of RAB‐3 at synapses. Taken together, these data suggest a role for KLP‐4 in modulation of cholinergic signaling in vivo and shed light on possible in vivo mechanisms of Kinesin‐3 motor regulation.

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FASEB BioAdvances




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