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Motor protein KLC4 is vital for neuron development and identity

28 October 2022

Busy Builders

When you’re constructing roads, you need the right components to arrive in the right places at the right time, or you end up with dead ends. The same goes for building neural networks. Here, building blocks are transported along developing neural projections using motor proteins. One such motor protein, kinesin-1, contains several subunits that are implicated in ensuring the right cargo arrives at the right destination within a neuron. Researchers focus on one subunit, in particular, kinesin light chain 4 (KLC4). Comparing live imaging of normal zebrafish (pictured) and mutants lacking KLC4 – each with fluorescently-tagged spinal neurons – reveals that projections in mutants don't stabilise or grow correctly. Plus in the mutant, projections forming the peripheral nervous system incorrectly behaved like those of the central nervous system by bundling together. KLC4 is, therefore, vital for building neurons and establishing the identity of neurons in the peripheral versus central nervous system.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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