Microtubule-based transport and the distribution, tethering, and organization of organelles

Kari Barlan, Vladimir I. Gelfand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Microtubules provide long tracks along which a broad range of organelles and vesicles are transported by kinesin and dynein motors. Motor protein complexes also tether cargoes to cytoskeletal filaments, helping facilitate their interaction and communication. The generation of biochemically distinct microtubule subpopulations allows subsets of motors to recognize a given microtubule identity, allowing further organization within the cytoplasm. Both transport and tethering are spatiotemporally regulated through multiple modes, including acute modification of both motor–cargo and motor–track associations by various physiological signals. Strict regulation of intracellular transport is particularly important in specialized cell types such as neurons. Here, we review general mechanisms by which cargo transport is controlled and also highlight examples of transport regulated by multiple mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera025817
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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