Kinesin-dependent axonal transport is mediated by the sunday driver (SYD) protein.
A broadly conserved membrane-associated protein required for the functional interaction of kinesin-I with axonal cargo was identified. Mutations in sunday driver (syd) and the axonal transport motor kinesin-I cause similar phenotypes in Drosophila, including aberrant accumulations of axonal cargoes. GFP-tagged mammalian SYD localizes to tubulovesicular structures that costain for kinesin-I and a marker of the secretory pathway. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis indicates that mouse SYD forms a complex with kinesin-I in vivo. Yeast two-hybrid analysis and in vitro interaction studies reveal that SYD directly binds kinesin-I via the tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain of kinesin light chain (KLC) with K(d) congruent with 200 nM. We propose that SYD mediates the axonal transport of at least one class of vesicles by interacting directly with KLC.