KIF19A Is a Microtubule-Depolymerizing Kinesin for Ciliary Length Control

Shinsuke Niwa, Kazuo Nakajima, Harukata Miki, Yusuke Minato, Doudou Wang, Nobutaka Hirokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Cilia control homeostasis of the mammalian body by generating fluid flow. It has long been assumed that ciliary length-control mechanisms are essential for proper flow generation, because fluid flow generation is a function of ciliary length. However, the molecular mechanisms of ciliary length control in mammals remain elusive. Here, we suggest that KIF19A, a member of the kinesin superfamily, regulates ciliary length by depolymerizing microtubules at the tips of cilia. Kif19a-/- mice displayed hydrocephalus and female infertility phenotypes due to abnormally elongated cilia that cannot generate proper fluid flow. KIF19A localized to cilia tips, and recombinant KIF19A controlled the length of microtubules polymerized from axonemes in vitro. KIF19A had ATP-dependent microtubule-depolymerizing activity mainly at the plus end of microtubules. Our results indicated a molecular mechanism of ciliary length regulation in mammals, which plays an important role in the maintenance of the mammalian body. The mechanism that determines ciliary length is essential for proper fluid flow generation. Niwa et al. find that KIF19A regulates the length of motile cilia by depolymerizing microtubules at ciliary tips. Disruption of this mechanism causes ciliopathy-like phenotypes such as hydrocephalus and female infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1175
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 11


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