Transport Breakdown

Deficiencies in a cellular motor that carries a serotonin receptor are associated with anxiety in mice.

Kate Yandell
Jul 1, 2013


KEEPING THE MOTORS TUNED: Anxiety may be caused by defects in motor proteins (such as the kinesin protein depicted here) that shuttle vesicles containing serotonin receptors around neurons.© GUNILLA ELAM/SCIENCE SOURCE IMAGES

The paper
R. Zhou et al., “A molecular motor, KIF13A, controls anxiety by transporting the serotonin type 1a receptor,” Cell Reports, 3:509-19, 2013.

The finding
Dysfunctions in the neurotransmitter serotonin and its receptors have long been associated with anxiety. University of Tokyo cell biologist Nobutaka Hirokawa and colleagues have found that the kinesin motor KIF13A transports serotonin type 1a receptors to the cell membrane, and that defects in KIF13A result in anxiety-related behavior in mice.

The search
Hirokawa previously found that KIF molecular motors are involved in diverse processes, including nerve development and higher brain functions such as learning and memory. The function of KIF13A, however, was a mystery. While performing behavioral...