Kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein in spinal spheroids with motor neuron disease

Itaru Toyoshima, Masashiro Sugawara, Kazumaro Kato, Chizu Wada, Koichi Hirota, Kazuko Hasegawa, Hisayuki Kowa, Michael P. Sheetz, Osamu Masamune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein are two major molecular motors responsible for fast axonal transport. As visualized by immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies, both motors were found to be distributed throughout the cell bodies, dendrites and axons of motor neurons in normal human spinal cords. Large axonal swellings, spheroids, in the spinal cords of patients with motor neuron disease showed massive accumulation of kinesin co- localized with highly phosphorylated neurofilaments. Of 114 spheroids in five spinal cords, 87% were stained heavily with the three anti-kinesin antibodies used in this study. Cytoplasmic dynein was scarce or absent in most of the spheroids. These findings suggest that kinesin selectively accumulates in the spheroids of motor neuron axons, causing disturbance of the machinery for anterograde fast axonal transport in motor neuron disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Cytoplasmic dynein
  • Kinesin
  • Molecular motor
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Spheroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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