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Butkevich, Eugenia; Härtig, Wolfgang; Nikolov, Miroslav; Erck, Christian; Grosche, Jens; Urlaub, Henning; Schmidt, Christoph F.; Klopfenstein, Dieter R. and Chua, John Jia En (2016): Phosphorylation of FEZ1 by Microtubule Affinity Regulating Kinases regulates its function in presynaptic protein trafficking. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 26965 [PDF, 2MB]

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Adapters bind motor proteins to cargoes and therefore play essential roles in Kinesin-1 mediated intracellular transport. The regulatory mechanisms governing adapter functions and the spectrum of cargoes recognized by individual adapters remain poorly defined. Here, we show that cargoes transported by the Kinesin-1 adapter FEZ1 are enriched for presynaptic components and identify that specific phosphorylation of FEZ1 at its serine 58 regulatory site is mediated by microtubule affinity-regulating kinases (MARK/PAR-1). Loss of MARK/PAR-1 impairs axonal transport, with adapter and cargo abnormally co-aggregating in neuronal cell bodies and axons. Presynaptic specializations are markedly reduced and distorted in FEZ1 and MARK/PAR-1 mutants. Strikingly, abnormal co-aggregates of unphosphorylated FEZ1, Kinesin-1 and its putative cargoes are present in brains of transgenic mice modelling aspects of Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder exhibiting impaired axonal transport and altered MARK activity. Our findings suggest that perturbed FEZ1-mediated synaptic delivery of proteins arising from abnormal signalling potentially contributes to the process of neurodegeneration.

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