Interaction of Tau with Kinesin-1: Effect of Kinesin-1 Heavy Chain Elimination on Autophagy-Mediated Mutant Tau Degradation

Karthikeyan Selvarasu, Abhay Kumar Singh, Avinash Dakshinamoorthy, Sravan Gopalkrishnashetty Sreenivasmurthy, Ashok Iyaswamy, Moorthi Radhakrishnan, Supriti Patnaik, Jian Dong Huang, Leonard L. Williams, Sanjib Senapati, Siva Sundara Kumar Durairajan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Natively unfolded tau has a low propensity to form aggregates, but in tauopathies, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), tau aggregates into paired helical filaments (PHFs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Multiple intracellular transport pathways utilize kinesin-1, a plus-end-directed microtubule-based motor. Kinesin-1 is crucial in various neurodegenerative diseases as it transports multiple cargoes along the microtubules (MT). Kinesin-1 proteins cannot progress along MTs due to an accumulation of tau on their surfaces. Although kinesin-1-mediated neuronal transport dysfunction is well-documented in other neurodegenerative diseases, its role in AD has received less attention. Very recently, we have shown that knocking down and knocking out of kinesin-1 heavy chain (KIF5B KO) expression significantly reduced the level and stability of tau in cells and tau transgenic mice, respectively. Here, we report that tau interacts with the motor domain of KIF5B in vivo and in vitro, possibly through its microtubule-binding repeat domain. This interaction leads to the inhibition of the ATPase activity of the motor domain. In addition, the KIF5B KO results in autophagy initiation, which subsequently assists in tau degradation. The mechanisms behind KIF5B KO-mediated tau degradation seem to involve its interaction with tau, promoting the trafficking of tau through retrograde transport into autophagosomes for subsequent lysosomal degradation of tau. Our results suggest how KIF5B removal facilitates the movement of autophagosomes toward lysosomes for efficient tau degradation. This mechanism can be enabled through the downregulation of kinesin-1 or the disruption of the association between kinesin-1 and tau, particularly in cases when neurons perceive disturbances in intercellular axonal transport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ATPase
  • autophagy
  • KIF5B
  • kinesin 1 heavy chain
  • tau


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