Mutations in either of the two tumor suppressor genes NF1 (neurofibromin) and NF2 (merlin) result in Neurofibromatosis, a condition predisposing individuals to developing a variety of benign and malignant tumors of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Here we report the identification of two distinct NF1-containing complexes, one in the soluble and the other in the particulate fraction of HeLa extract. We show that the soluble NF1 complex delineates a large holo-NF1 complex (2 MDa) encompassing the components of a smaller particulate core-NF1 complex (400 kDa). Purification of the core-NF1 complex followed by mass spectrometric analysis revealed the motor protein, kinesin-1 heavy chain (HsuKHC/KIF5B), as a catalytic subunit of both NF-1-containing complexes. Importantly, although NF1 and NF2 are not in a stable association, NF2 is also a component of a distinct kinesin-1-containing complex. These results point to kinesin-1 as a common denominator between NF1 and NF2.
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