Biophysical Reviews

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 471–482 | Cite as

Physical parameters describing neuronal cargo transport by kinesin UNC-104

  • Kumiko HayashiEmail author
  • Shiori Matsumoto
  • Miki G. Miyamoto
  • Shinsuke Niwa


In this review, we focus on the kinesin-3 family molecular motor protein UNC-104 and its regulatory protein ARL-8. UNC-104, originally identified in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), has a primary role transporting synaptic vesicle precursors (SVPs). Although in vitro single-molecule experiments have been performed to primarily investigate the kinesin motor domain, these have not addressed the in vivo reality of the existence of regulatory proteins, such as ARL-8, that control kinesin attachment to/detachment from cargo vesicles, which is essential to the overall transport efficiency of cargo vesicles. To quantitatively understand the role of the regulatory protein, we review the in vivo physical parameters of UNC-104-mediated SVP transport, including force, velocity, run length and run time, derived from wild-type and arl-8-deletion mutant C. elegans. Our future aim is to facilitate the construction of a consensus physical model to connect SVP transport with pathologies related to deficient synapse construction caused by the deficient UNC-104 regulation. We hope that the physical parameters of SVP transport summarized in this review become a useful guide for the development of such model.


Motor proteins Kinesin Cellular cargo transport Neuronal disease 



We thank the participants of the Asian Biophysics Association (ABA) Symposium 2018 for comments on the study.

Authors’ contributions

K.H. and S.N. wrote the paper with the help of S.M.. S.M. and M.G.M. performed the experiments and the data analysis (Figs. 11 and 14).

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding information

This work was supported by JST PRESTO (grant number JPMJPR1877), AMED PRIME (grant number JP18gm5810009), and JSPS KAKENHI (grant number 17H03659) to K. H., as well as JSPS KAKENHI (grant number 17H05010) to S. N.

Conflict of interest

We declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All the animal experiments were conducted in compliance with protocols which were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Tohoku University.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Physics, Graduate School of EngineeringTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences (FRIS) and Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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