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MT1-MMP plays a crucial role in promoting the cellular invasion of cancer cells by degrading the extracellular matrix to create a path for migration. During this process, its localization at the leading edge of migrating cells is critical, and it is achieved by targeted transport of MT1-MMP-containing vesicles along microtubules by kinesin superfamily motor proteins (KIFs). Here we identified three KIFs involved in MT1-MMP vesicle transport: KIF3A, KIF13A, and KIF9. Knockdown of KIF3A and KIF13A effectively inhibited MT1-MMP-dependent collagen degradation and invasion, while knockdown of KIF9 increased collagen degradation and invasion. Our data suggest that KIF3A/KIF13A dependent MT1-MMP vesicles transport takes over upon KIF9 knockdown. Live-cell imaging analyses have indicated that KIF3A and KIF13A coordinate to transport the same MT1-MMP-containing vesicles from the trans-Golgi to the endosomes, and KIF13A alone transports the vesicle from the endosome to the plasma membrane. Taken together, we have identified a unique interplay between three KIFs to regulate leading edge localization of MT1-MMP and MT1-MMP-dependent cancer cell invasion.

Original publication




Journal article


Matrix biol

Publication Date



KIF13A, KIF3A, KIF9, MT1-MMP, cancer invasion