Kinesins are a class of motor proteins found in eukaryotic cells. Kinesins move along microtubule cables powered by the hydrolysis of ATP (thus kinesins are ATPases). The active movement of kinesins supports several cellular functions including mitosis, meiosis and transport of cargo such as axonal transport.
In the cell small molecules, such as gases and glucose, diffuse to where they are needed. Large molecules synthesised in the cell body, intracellular components such as vesicles, and organelles such as mitochondria are too large (and the cytosol too crowded) to diffuse to their destinations. Motor proteins fulfill the role of transporting large cargo about the cell to their required destinations. Kinesins are motor proteins that transport such cargo by walking unidirectionally along microtubule tracks hydrolysing one molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) at each step.It was thought that ATP hydrolysis powered each step, the energy released propelling the head forwards to the next binding site. However, it has been proposed that the head diffuses forward and the force of binding to the microtubule is what pulls the cargo along.