Faculty Advisor

Manning, Amity L.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease with no cure. Kinesin 5A (KIF5A), a molecular motor, has been identified as a novel gene associated with ALS, specifically a mutation in the C-terminal cargo binding domain. Mutations in the N- terminus motor head domain of KIF5A cause hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). Mitochondria are a common cargo of KIF5A. Mutations involving mitochondria transport are often correlated with neurodegenerative diseases. This project aimed to investigate the effects of different KIF5A mutations on mitochondrial mobility. We found increased motility in ALS mutant motor neurons and reduced motility in HSP mutants compared to KIF5A WT cells, suggesting opposite mechanisms of action for these diseases.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2019


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology