Microtubule-dependent vesicle transport: Modulation of channel and transporter activity in liver and kidney

Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez, Michael Sheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

105 Scopus citations


Microtubule-based vesicle transport driven by kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein motor proteins facilitates several membrane-trafficking steps including elements of endocytosis and exocytosis in many different cell types. Most early studies on the role of microtubule-dependent vesicle transport in membrane trafficking focused either on neurons or on simple cell lines. More recently, other work has considered the role of microtubule- based vesicle transport in other physiological systems, including kidney and liver. Investigation of the role of microtubule-based vesicle transport in membrane trafficking in cells of the kidney and liver suggests a major role for microtubule-based vesicle transport in the rapid and directed movement of ion channels and transporters to and from the apical plasma membranes, events essential for kidney and liver function and homeostasis. This review discusses the evidence supporting a role for microtubule-based vesicle transport and the motor proteins, kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein, in different aspects of membrane trafficking in cells of the kidney and liver, with emphasis on those functions such as maintenance of ion channel and transporter composition in apical membranes that are specialized functions of these organs. Evidence that defects in microtubule-based transport contribute to diseases of the kidney and liver is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1129
Number of pages21
JournalPhysiological Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this