Molecular motors that generate force and/or motility along cytoskeletal filaments are critical for processes such as cell division, cell motility, intracellular trafficking and ciliary function. Two large families of molecular motors, kinesins and dyneins, drive transport along microtubule filaments. Defects in motor-dependent transport are associated with a large variety of diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer, developmental defects, and a variety of diseases collectively termed the ciliopathies.
Our work is focused on the molecular mechanisms and cellular functions of kinesin motors in mammalian cells. To do this, we use molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics approaches. We are currently investigating how posttranslational modifications of the microtubule tracks act as road signs to direct kinesin transport, how kinesin activity is regulated spatially and temporally, and how single kinesin motors coordinate their activities to drive vesicle transport in cells.