Microtubule-associated mechanoenzymes have been proposed to play a fundamental role in chromosome movement. We have cloned and characterized the cDNA for a novel protein, named Chromokinesin, that fulfills several of the criteria expected of a mitotic motor. Chromokinesin contains both a kinesin motor-like domain and an unusual basic-leucine zipper DNA-binding domain. Its mRNA is readily detectable in proliferating cells, but not in postmitotic cells. Immunocytochemical analysis with antibodies directed against the nonconserved COOH-terminal region of Chromokinesin indicates that the protein is localized in the nucleus, and primarily associated with chromosome arms in mitotic cells. These data suggest that Chromokinesin is likely to function as a microtubule-based mitotic motor with DNA as its cargo.

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