The microtubule (MT) plus-end motor kinesin heavy chain (Khc) is well known for its role in long distance cargo transport. Recent evidence showed that Khc is also required for the organization of the cellular MT network by mediating MT sliding. We found that mutations in Khc and the gene of its adaptor protein, kinesin light chain (Klc) resulted in identical bristle morphology defects, with the upper part of the bristle being thinner and flatter than normal and failing to taper towards the bristle tip. We demonstrate that bristle mitochondria transport requires Khc but not Klc as a competing force to dynein heavy chain (Dhc). Surprisingly, we demonstrate for the first time that Dhc is the primary motor for both anterograde and retrograde fast mitochondria transport. We found that the upper part of Khc and Klc mutant bristles lacked stable MTs. When following dynamic MT polymerization via the use of GFP-tagged end-binding protein 1 (EB1), it was noted that at Khc and Klc mutant bristle tips, dynamic MTs significantly deviated from the bristle parallel growth axis, relative to wild-type bristles. We also observed that GFP-EB1 failed to concentrate as a focus at the tip of Khc and Klc mutant bristles. We propose that the failure of bristle tapering is due to defects in directing dynamic MTs at the growing tip. Thus, we reveal a new function for Khc and Klc in directing dynamic MTs during polarized cell growth. Moreover, we also demonstrate a novel mode of coordination in mitochondrial transport between Khc and Dhc.
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© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.