ABSTRACT: Kinesin-3 motor UNC-104/KIF1A is essential for transporting synaptic precursors to synapses. Although the mechanism of cargo binding is well understood, little is known how motor activity is regulated. We mapped functional interaction domains between SYD-2 and UNC-104 by using yeast 2-hybrid and pull-down assays and by using FRET/fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy to image the binding of SYD-2 to UNC-104 in living Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that UNC-104 forms SYD-2-dependent axonal clusters (appearing during the transition from L2 to L3 larval stages), which behave in FRAP experiments as dynamic aggregates. High-resolution microscopy reveals that these clusters contain UNC-104 and synaptic precursors (synaptobrevin-1). Analysis of motor motility indicates bi-directional movement of UNC-104, whereas in syd-2 mutants, loss of SYD-2 binding reduces net anterograde movement and velocity (similar after deleting UNC-104's liprin-binding domain), switching to retrograde transport characteristics when no role of SYD-2 on dynein and conventional kinesin UNC-116 motility was found. These data present a kinesin scaffolding protein that controls both motor clustering along axons and motor motility, resulting in reduced cargo transport efficiency upon loss of interaction.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2009; 106(46):19605-10. · 9.68 Impact Factor